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Cover Photos: Hans Bennett 



the Future of the Lett 



Openers 


From Sc.ittlo to Prague and Beyond! 


he events of the Inst ye/u hnve chmigad tin l/m <>l 
the content porniy political Npeutrum Ini the him 
time «ince early in the I a . hi century nnnrchlNlN are 
beginning to be heard and taken seriously by Urge 
numbers of people around the world. Of course, 
most mainstream media attention is still devoted to 
denouncing, dismissing or belittling anarchist ideas 
and actions. This is only to be expected when huge 
corporations control the vast majority of communications over entire 
continents. What is really new is that anar- 
chist resistance has grown and become so 
vocal that it can no longer be ignored as it 
has been since the '60s. (And even in the 
turbulence of the late 1960s, although anar- 
chists got some attention — especially within 
the anti-war movement, anarchists were so 
few in number and often so inarticulate that 
they had a minimal impact on events.) 

With the growth and rising militance of 
the global anti-globalization movement in 
Seattle, Davos, Washington D.C., Mel- 
bourne, and now Prague, it has become clear 
that there is an increasingly significant number of anarchists involved 
in all of the most crucial areas of this resistance. Libertarian forms of 
organization have achieved widespread acceptance within this 
resistance. Anarchist goals — the destruction of neoliberal institutions, 
along with the destruction of capitalism and the state — are becoming 
increasingly visible and gaining adherents. And a clear majority of the 
most militant participants around the world appear to be anarchists. 

Yet it is precisely at this time that many leftists have begun calling 
for the abandonment, or at least a significant slowdown, of the now 
frequent, international mass-mobilizations confronting neoliberal 
institutions around the world. The major arguments for slowing down 
or abandoning this, so far, very fruitful strategy are several. They 
include criticisms that (1) mobilizing masses of people so frequently 
in different locations is elitist, can’t be sustained and will lead to 
burn-out; that (2) mobilizing for mass confrontations with neoliberal 
institutions means neglecting local and regional organizing at home; 
that (3) as these confrontations with global capitalist institutions 
continue the level of repression will escalate to the point where the 
costs of resistance outweigh the benefits; and that (4) radical goals of 
abolishing capitalism and the state outright are being lost amid the 
many more limited calls for "fair trade" within capitalism and defenses 
of national sovereignty against globalist capitalism. 

As with any statements about huge, complex social movements 
there will usually be some grain of truth within any criticisms that 
might be made. However, the overriding agenda hidden behind these 
current criticisms would appear to quite possibly be an increasing fear 
that the traditional ideologies, organizational forms and leaderships 
of the left are being left behind. In effect, the anti-globalization 
movement is being not so subtly asked to subordinate itself to those 
who want to channel the movement in their own preferred directions. 
Thus the spontaneity of — and libertarian organizational forms taken 
by — anti-globalization resistance are not just a threat to, but a 
negation of, the leadership hierarchies of traditional leftist organiza- 
tions. The free-for-all contest of diverse groups working, more or less, 


i In i it|tn uni globalist neo-liberalism — without the burden of any 
la in im mli llii "ii'lli nl oi Ideological goals — eschews the heretofore 
nl mi ml ItU'Mi iipiilili least common-denominator orientation of 
mnblll/nlloiifi nl iii/iht i> .*i him tee (In North America, especially). While 
1 1*** dive t Nr im His o| < « min iiil/Hlon from nonviolent resistance to 
creative symbolic action* in active and elite etly physical attacks — resist 
any easy, premature Inter pi el at Ion of the resistance, leaving it open 
to many levels of participation. 

So, it might be true that (I) mobilizing masses of people so 
frequently in different locations could be 
elitist, unsustainable, and likely to lead to 
burn-out of activists if the same small group 
of people were required to organize and turn 
out for each event. However, one of the 
biggest strengths of anti-globalization resis- 
tance has been the incorporation of ever 
more new participants from around the 
world. The fact that the largest mobilizations 
have been organized in different places each 
time has meant that local radicals in each 
region have had the valuable opportunity to 
participate intimately in their planning, 
organizing and realization, while any radicals unable or uninterested 
in travelling to the primary sites of confrontation have had multiple 
opportunities to cither participate in or organize a multitude of 
satellite protests around the globe. 

It might be true that (2) mobilizing for mass confrontations with 
ncoliberal institutions could mean neglecting local and regional 
organizing at home if the mobilizations were the only activities in 
which participants engaged. However, a closer look at the actual 
activities of participating radicals would reveal that many arc already 
heavily involved in local interventions on their home turf. And many 
of the rest wouldn't be interested in traditional leftist organizing even 
if they didn't participate in anti globalization events. The biggest 
problem for the critics here seems to be that those radicals who are 
involved in local interventions aren't doing the type of traditional 
leftist organizing the critics prefei 

It also might be true that (3) as these confrontations with global 
capitalist institutions continue the le vel of repression will escalate. 
This should be expected. Whenever the husiness-as-usual of capital 
and state are genuinely threatened we should expect attacks on 
radicals to escalate. However, I Ills is primarily an argument for 
constantly inventing new and mote creative forms, methods and 
means of targeting those we me confronting, not of abandoning 
confrontation merely to avoid rrpiesslon. 

And, finally, it appears patently untrue that (4) radical goals of 
abolishing capitalism and the stale outright are being lost amid the 
more limited calls for "fall trade" within capitalism and defenses of 
national sovereignly against globalist capitalism. In fact, many more 
people have now actually heart! I lie sc radical demands raised, than 
would have evei noticed them hidden In the programs and theoretical 
publications ol formal Icfllst organizations whose actual practices 
have generally been at odds with these goals anyway 

A year ago ll ■ i I ltl Yt lords) Itvi is Prague! Iomorrow, the 

resistance to capital and slate Is coming to a city near you! 

Jason McQuinn 




Anarchy: A Journnl of Urnilin Aimml 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Openers 


Discontents 



Essays 


36 My Date with the 
North American 
Anarchist Conference 

By Lawrence Jarach 

42 Anarchist Publishing & 
Distribution: Interview 
with the AK Collective 

By Jason McQuinn 

si Man Ray’s Path to Dada 

By Allan Antliff 

57 Tango: The Passionate 
Music 

By Manolo Gonzalez 

61 Sidebar: Music for Late 
Nights in the City 

65 An Anarchy Reader 
Survey 


Departments 


Openers 

2 From Seattle to Prague 
and Beyond! 

5 Inside Anarchy 

The Sad Truth 

8 Revolution in Yugoslavia — 

Who Won? 

9 Amsterdam Squatters Evicted 
by Riot Cops 

Alternative Media Review 

10 A Cavalier History of Surrealism 

12 The Anarchist Tension 

13 Anarchism and American Traditions 

14 Anarchism, Marxism, and the 
Future of the Left 

20 Anarchist Press Review 

21 Anarchist/Alternative Web Sites 

International Anarchist News 

22 Montreal Anarchist Demo 
Suppressed with 157 Arrests 

26 Irish Eyewitness Report on the S26 
Demonstration in Prague 

32 Anarchist Rebels in Uganda? 

68-80 Letters 


Seattle N30 cover photos: Hans Bennett 


Anarchy #50 

Fall/Winter 2000-2001 

Press run: 6,000 
ISSN 1044-1387 
LC 88-13329 
OCLC 11733794 
Printed in USA 

PUBLISHED BY 
C.A.L. Press 

EDITOR 
Jason McQuinn 

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS 
Mr. Fish, Ardmore, PA. 

Johann Ilumyn Being, San Francisco, CA. 

James Koehnline, Seattle, WA. 

Phillip Dollar, San Francisco, CA. 

Mark Neville, Seattle, WA. 

CON PR I B l JTING ED ITORS 

Manolo Gonzalez, San Francisco, CA. 

Doug Imric, Montreal, Quebec 

Lawrence Jarach, Berkeley, CA. 

Alex Trotter, Brooklyn, NY. 

Michael William, Montreal, Quebec 

John Zerzan, Eugene, OR. 

CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE 
Allan Antliff • Hans Bennett • Joe Black 
• Derf • Joram Jojo • Moco Loco • Jeff 
Shantz • Andrew Singer • Undercurrents 
• Tom Wheeler 

Special thanks to A. Hacker. 

The views expressed in the articles, 
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Email: jmcquinn@coin.org 

“The whirligig of time has its revenges. ” 
-B.A.G. Fuller 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 










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Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Openers 


Inside Anarchy 



N ot just another issue, this is Anar- 
chy number 50! Published since 
1980, Anarchy has outlasted hundreds of 
other anarchist periodicals, organizations 
and federations in the last twenty years. 
Why? While paying respect to history (espe- 
cially to the manifold lost histories of resis- 
tance), Anarchy has always emphasized the 
living, passionate and exciting elements of 
the anarchist .tradition and present. While 
others attempt to preserve the dogmas of 
yesterday, Anarchy remains committed to 
reflecting and enlarging anarchist resistance 
to capital and the state here and now! 

This issue celebrates the ongoing expan- 
sion of anarchist resistance internationally 
with coverage of the recent S26 anti- 
IMF/World Bank demonstrations in Prague 
in the Czech Republic. It also includes a 
detailed description of the repression of an 
anarchist demo last spring in Montreal, and 
an exchange of messages about what may be 
an anarchist rebel group operating in Ugan- 
da. However, with the increasing amount of 
resistance around the globe right now, along 
with the expanding effectiveness of radical 
communications, there are many important 
events not covered in this issue simply due 
to lack of space. In order to cover more of 
these important events in the next issue, we 
may need to enlarge the “International 
Anarchist News” section of the magazine in 
the future. (Let us know what you think by 
sending in the Anarchy Reader Survey on 
page 65.) 

This issue features Lawrence Jarach s 
report on his hopeful experiences at the 
North American Anarchist Conference that 
took place this last August in Los Angeles 
(immediately before the protests at the 
Democratic Convention there), my interview 
with the AK Collective about its increasing- 
ly important publishing and distribution 
activities, Allan Antilffs historical account 
of artist & photographer “Man Ray’s Path 
to Dada,” and Manolo Gonzalez’s nostalgic 
look at the history of Tango in relation to 
the Argentine anarchist milieu. But, as 
usual, that's not anywhere near all you'll 
find in these pages! 

For those wishing to contact this maga- 
zine electronically, please remember that 
the e-mail address changed earlier this year. 
It is now: jmcquinn@coin.org (and the old 
address no longer works). 


Unfortunately, work has gone very slowly 
on developing the new Anarchy magazine 
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issue appears in March, 2001. The most 
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for those interested in locating the site as 
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Don't forget that C.A.L. Press is still 
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postpaid (or free with new 8-issue subscrip- 
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an alternate choice to Bob Black’s Anarchy 
after Leftism book). If you didn’t make it to 
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I'd like to remind you one last time that 
you won’t likely find any other anarchist 


periodical project consistently reaching as 
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chist milieu as this one. It isn’t just a coinci- 
dence that Anarchy is available in nearly a 
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It should be obvious by now that not many 
radical magazines make it in the super- 
commodified “media market,” saturated as 
it is with glossy and colorful cotton-candy 
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of the very few radical alternatives readily 
available to millions of potential non -anar- 
chist readers. 

And once again, for those who have been 
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plans for publication of our next book have 
suffered from a severe lack of cash. At this 
point it remains to be seen if we can get our 
next title out before the Spring/Summer 
Anarchy appears, though we'll be trying. 

But don't forget that the C.A.L. Press/ 
Paleo Editions book publishing project did 
come out with the long-awaited second, 
expanded edition of John Zxrzan’s Elements 
of Refusal last year. Anarchy readers can still 
get copies by sending checks for $14.95 + 
$2.05 shipping & handling (for a total of 
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bia, MO 65205-1446. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 






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Jason McQuinn, Editor 


Free Critter & Free! 

On June 23rd Jeffrey "Free" Luers and 
Craig "Critter" Marshall were indicted on 
nine felony counts and one misdemeanor, 
by a Lane County, Oregon grand jury in 
Eugene. The charges were placed on the 
"defendants acting together with others as 
yet unnamed," ensuring a continuous 
"investigation" into the community they 
want to intimidate into hiding. The original 
charges were trumped up to 9 felonies 
and one misdemeanor. As far as we know 
they have no bail, and could face up to 86 
years in prison. 

For more information and to offer 
support call: 541-343-8548. To recieve 
updates on their case, send email to: 
eae@efn.org or, write directly: 

Jeffrey Luers (Free) #1306729 
101 W. 5th Street 
Eugene, Oregon 97401 

Craig Marshall (Critter) #1340996 
101 W. 5th Street 
Eugene, Oregon 97401 


Disarm Authority! Arm your Desires! 


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Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Books 


C.A.L. Press Books 


Elements of Refusal 

John Zerzan's first collection of essays is back in print 
in a new, expanded Second Edition! "Here it is axiom- 
atic that art, language, time, industrialism, number, 
technology, work and other aspects of our social 
lives — all hailed as the liberators of humanity— are, in 
fact, the co-conspirators of domestication and domina- 
tion." -from the Preface. 320pp. $14.95 paper 

Anarchy after Leftism 

Bob Black’s most recent— and possibly most entertain- 
ing-book. An intelligent, witty & compelling demolition 
job on both Murray Bookchin’s atrocious Social 
Anarchism vs. Lifestyle Anarchism and , his overall 
philosophical and radical pretensions. Highly recom- 
mended. (C.A.L. Press, 1997) 176pp. $7.95 paper. 

Future Primitive & Other Essays 

John Zerzan's latest book, collecting critical essays 
from Anarchy & Demolition Derby, including "Future 
Primitive,” "The Mass Psychology of Misery," “The 
Catastrophe of Postmodernism" and "Tonality and the 
Totality," along with his "Nihilist's Dictionary." (C.A.L. 
Press & Autonomedia, 1994) 185pp. $6.95 paper. 

Revolution of Everyday Life 

Raoul Vaneigem's still-explosive masterpiece on 
radical subjectivity in a world of things and their prices. 
This book has been serialized in past issues of Anar- 
chy, but it's well worth reading & re-reading. One of 
the two major works of the Situationist International, 
this text played a role in the gestation of the general 
strike of May, 1968 in France. (Left Bank & Rebel 
Press, 1967, 1994) 279pp. $15.95 paper. 


Against His-Story, Against Leviathan 

Fredy Perlman's most important work presents his 
account of the world history of civilizations from their 
origins as they devoured primitive peoples and other 
civilizations on their way to the dead-end we know too 
well as the present day. A poetic and deeply subver 
sive reversal of perspective on history. (Black & Red, 
1983) 302pp. $9.95 paper. 

Letters of Insurgents 

Fredy Perlman's fascinating & compelling novel of 
letters between continents revealing and concealing 
what is subversive and what is recuperated in the 
personal & public lives of two radicals— one American 
and one in Eastern Europe — from the upheavals of the 
'60s through the reaction which followed. (Black & 
Red. 1976) 831pp. $12.95 paper. 

The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism 

Fredy Perlman’s penetrating critique of nationalism left 
and right. This is an essential essay for understanding 
nationalism without illusions. (Black & Red, 1985) 
58pp. $2.95 paper. 

History of the Makhnovist Movement 

Peter Arshinov’s inspiring firsthand account of the 
most important anarchist movement of the Russian 
Revolution, centered on the anarchist partisans orga- 
nized by Nestor Makhno in the Ukraine, as they fought 
for their lives under attack from the Ukrainian national- 
ists, the Bolshevik counter-revolution and the Czarist 
White armies from 1918 until their defeat in 1921 . This 
is an amazing and inspiring story. (Black & Red, 1987) 
284pp. $11.95 paper. 


Society of the Spectacle 

Guy Debord's highly important masterwork updating 
Marx's theory of commodity fetishism for an electroni- 
cally-mediated world. “Everything which was once 
lived has moved into its representation." One of the 
two central works of the Situationist International. 
(Black & Red, 1967, 1983) unpaginated $6.95 paper. 

Situationist International Anthology 

Ken Knabb’s definitive translation and collection of the 
most important articles from the S.I.'s French journal, 
including those by Asger Jorn, Ivan Chtcheglov, Guy 
Debord, Raoul Vaneigem, Attila Kdtanyi, Rene Vienet 
& others. (Bureau of Public Secrets, 1981) 406pp. 
$14.95 paper. 

Journey through Utopia 

Marie Louise Berneri's thorough and perceptive study 
of the most important utopian writings since Plato's 
Republic. (Freedom Press, 1950) 339pp. $9.95 paper. 

Against Civilization 

A new anthology of "Readings and Reflections” put 
together by John Zerzan, including Hesiod on through 
to the “primitivists" of today, by way of Rousseau, 
William Morris, and Fourier, among others— 51 selec- 
tions in all. (Uncivilized Books, 1999) $9.95 paper. 

Begin at Start 

Su Negrin's simple, straightforward & unpretentious 
primer for integrating the personal and the political, 
written from a 1960s-70s perspective (Times Change 
Press, 1972) 173pp. $5.95 paper. 

Passionate and Dangerous: Conversations with 
Midwestern Anti-authoritarians & Anarchists 
Well, maybe not all that "dangerous," but this new 
survey of the midwestern anarchist scene will give you 
a lot better idea of who is active and what's going on 
out there! (1999) 70pp. $4.00 magazine format. 

Send a S.A.S.E. for a longer list of additional titles 
available from C.A.L. Press. 



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Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 



The Sad Truth 


Revolution in Yugoslavia — who won? 

Tom Wheeler 



An anarcho-syndicalist black-&-red flag flies over supporters of the Yugoslav “revolution.” 


I n late September, the Yugoslav opposi- 
tion called for a country-wide general 
strike in a bid to force Slobodan Milosevic 
from power. "We will call citizens to a total 
protest and total resistance, a total boycott, 
a peaceful general strike,” said Democratic 
Opposition of Serbia (DOS) leader Zoran 
Djindjic. The call for a general strike came 
after the Federal Election Commission issued 
a ruling that Milosevic and opposition candi- 
date Vojislav Kostunica must face a run-off 
vote after neither candidate won an outright 
majority during the elections. The election 
commission showed Kostunica with nearly 
49% of the vote compared to 38.6% for 
Milosevic. Opposition leaders disputed the 
results claiming Kostunica won well over 50% 
of the vote and no run-off was required. 

Joining the DOS-led protests were a group 
of Belgrade anarchists who decided to join 
the opposition and support the general 
strike. They felt that taking Milosevic out of 
power was the top priority and that ordinary 
people would benefit from his removal. They 
also justified their involvement with the some- 
what dubious assumption that a change in 
power would allow "more space” for radicals. 

Within a matter of days the opposition was 
successful in ousting Milosevic. “We won!" 
rang a communique from the Belgrade anar- 
chists. They claimed that "there is no doubt 
our society took a step toward freedom." 
While the Belgrade anarchists were savoring 
their apparent success, their victory cheers 
were drowned out by the monstrous roar of 
approval and unrestrained glee of many 
Western governments. 

“A dark cloud has been lifted from the 
Balkans" said President Clinton. Clinton’s 
enthusiasm matched that of the Belgrade 
anarchists as he lauded the events as a 
"people's uprising” and called it "an extraor- 
dinary victory." Secretary of State Madeleine 
Albright also praised the events as "great 
news.” 

Washington had a strong interest in back- 
ing the new leadership. After all, they fi- 
nanced it. For several months leading up to 
the September 24 election, US and NATO 
allies tunneled millions of dollars to the 
opposition, bankrolled pre-election polls, and 
provided technical support. This was hardly 
a covert operation. In July 1999, the Clinton 
administration announced its not-so-secret 
plan to destabilize Yugoslavia. Several media 
accounts even furnished specific details such 
as providing financial aid for Serbian opposi- 
tion groups, recruiting dissidents in the 
Serbian government and military, funding 
"independent” (/.e., NATO-approved) media 
and public relations firms. 


Apparently the US effort to recruit military 
and government officials met with some 
success. Although there was plenty of genu- 
ine distaste for Milosevic and his regime, this 
“people's uprising” had some help from high 
places. DOS leaders reported that they 
received assurances from military command- 
ers that they would not attack the demon- 
strators. Opposition leaders even coordinat- 
ed several meetings with numerous police 
and state security officials in these matters. 

Some events were not. quite what they 
seemed. When a large crowd stormed the 
parliament building in the center of Belgrade, 
it was portrayed as a spontaneous act of 
self-liberation by the media. But according to 
a French wire report, the event was carefuily 
planned. The mayor of Cacak, Velimir llic, 
told the French news agency AFP that his 
well-armed commando unit of 2,000 men 
had set out quite deliberately on October 5 
to "take control of the key institutions of the 
regime, including the parliament and the 
television.” llic is a member of the "Alliance 
for Change," one of the many opposition 
groups funded by Western interests, llic 
informed AFP that their actions "had been 
prepared in advance.” His unit included ex- 
parachute troops, former army and police 
officers as well as special forces. Some of 
these former commandos included veterans 


of the civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia. In 
other words, the same paramilitaries primari- 
ly responsible for giving the Serbian people 
the reputation of “ethnic cleansers” and war 
criminals, were hailed by the Western media 
as heroes of a revolution. 

What can we expect now that the NATO- 
financed opposition appears poised to take 
control? The chief economist for the DOS 
said: "We are thinking of adopting. ..a shock 
therapy in some areas, and mild and gradual 
reform in others." In fact the economic ad- 
justments outlined in the DOS program are 
similar to US plans to break up Yugoslavia 
into a cluster of weakened free-market princi- 
palities. 

The day after the elections, two prominent 
members of the opposition made a trip to 
Bulgaria where they met with representatives 
of the IMF, the World Bank and NATO gov- 
ernments at a “donor conference." Those 
members were Mladjan Dinkic, often named 
as a prospective Finance Minister in a DOS- 
led government, and Dr. Dragoslav 
Avramovic, an economist. A "Letter of Intent” 
was drafted which calls for rapid privatization 
under the control of Western donors and 
creditors. Some of the measures the NATO 
countries would like to impose include end- 
ing all price controls, introduction of “free 
Continued on next page 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


The Sad Truth 


Amsterdam squatters evicted by riot cops 



O n Monday, June 26th 2000, the 
squatters of the Swammerdam 
neighborhood in East Amster- 
dam were finally evicted by a massive 
police operation costing 600,000 guil- 
ders (over $250,000). We can only 
presume this was necessary because 
50 people living together communally, 
running a non-profit bar and info-cafe, 
creating community • garden space 
from derelict wasteland— in fact living 
together as a community — is nowa- 
days considered just too dangerous 
and undesirable. 

We were treated to a spectacular 
show of force: 

• 150 riot police (with batons, shields 
and tear gas— thankfully they didn’t 
use the gas) 

• 50 plain clothes arresting police 
• one bulldozer 
• one water cannon 
♦ one 40-meter tall crane 
• and one helicopter 
Quite an ensemble! But a fantastic strug- 
gle was put up full of creativity, action and 
not a little bit of daring. After a couple of 
weeks of trying legal means to save our 
homes (during which time we had to deal 
with increasing police intimidation), we were 
finally given one day’s notice of the eviction. 

A support action was hastily planned — an 
occupation of the offices of De Key housing 
corporation, which owns the houses. The 
occupation was really successful and peace- 
ful, despite 40 riot police wanting to violently 
remove us. And even though we were just 
twenty people, half of whom were lying on 
mattresses in the street to show that we were 
now homeless. We demanded that De Key 
call off the eviction immediately and stop its 


policy of selling-off social housing to be 
as luxury apartments, but De Key seemed 
be mysteriously deaf to these suggestior 
All the streets leading into 
neighborhood were barricaded by 7am. The 
alarm call was sent out to all the squats in 
the city, and by 8 or 9am the streets were full 
of supporters. The forces of darkness 
seemed to have some difficulty getting out of 
bed however, and didn't show up until the 
afternoon. They arrived to find banners 
hanging from all the buildings saying "Why 
privatize when you can socialize?" "No 
pasaran,” "Senseless," and “We will be 
back." Dozens and dozens of well-aimed 
paint bombs gave some bursts of color to 
the normally dull blue police vehicles! After 


six hours of confrontation the homes 
were finally evicted — the police tactic 
was constantly blasting the houses 
with water cannon and finally using a 
sea-cargo container hanging from a 
40-metre crane, filled with riot cops. 
When the cargo container landed on 
the rooftop police spilled out and then 
chainsawed their way into the house. 

But the last laugh goes to us — the 
houses were strangely empty when 
the police finally got inside, not one 
squatter was to be found anywhere! 
Where could they have escaped to 
and how? Who knows? 

The eviction and action got good 
coverage in all the national Dutch 
media, often very positive and some- 
times even describing the issues be- 
hind the squatting. 

So fifty people are now homeless on 
friends’ floors, but this will only make, 
us stronger — the CIA info-cafe re- 
opens in a new location this weekend, 
tapas bar will soon follow, and more 
will be cracked! 

Following this violent eviction, the nearby 
derelict land that was squatted and turned 
into a beautiful community garden over the 
past few months was also completely de- 
stroyed on the morning of Wednesday, June 
28th, by construction workers. They simply 
bulldozed everything flat and chopped down 
all the trees and plants with chainsaws. Local 
residents who supported the squatters and 
people in other neighborhood squats have 
been on the receiving end of constant ha- 
rassment by builders and security guards. 

For squatting news see http://squat.net 
and for an archive on the Swammerdam 
squats see http://squat.net/leeuwenhoek 


Revolution in Yugoslavia 

continued from previous page 

markets," an end to all social protection, 
massive layoffs and drastic pay cuts. It also 
stipulates that future reconstruction contracts 
to repair damage caused by NATO’s coward- 
ly terrorist war against the civilian population 
be entrusted to companies from those very 
same NATO countries. 

If one examines the free-market medicine 
administered to countries like Bulgaria, the 
Ukraine and Russia, one can get a sense of 
what to expect in Yugoslavia. In the Ukraine, 
a $360 million dollar loan was provided for 
accepting the IMF's shock treatment. The 
result? The price of bread increased 300%. 
The price of electricity increased 600%, 


public transport 900%. The grain market was 
deregulated and Ukraine went from being a 
grain exporter to begging for food. In Bulgar- 
ia, the stripping of social defenses led to 
mass poverty and suffering. The World Bank 
now admits that nearly 90% of Bulgarians 
live below the poverty line. In Russia, free 
market policies led to massive wage de- 
creases. Social indicators such as average 
lifespan and overall health have declined 
dramatically. 

The same week the West was engaged in 
ecstatic euphoria over the events in Yugosla- 
via, the European Children’s Trust, a group 
active in nearly a dozen Eastern European 
countries, released a report which found that 
poverty in Eastern Europe had increased 
more than tenfold over the decade since the 


introduction of market reforms. The report 
found that "for all its many faults, the old 
system provided most people with a reason- 
able standard of living and a certain securi- 
ty.” There has been a near total collapse of 
social structures in many parts of these 
countries. 

Who won? Some anarchists may indeed 
feel that Yugoslavia has "taken a step toward 
freedom" and created “more space" for 
radicals. However, the more likely scenario is 
the US and NATO will gain additional influ- 
ence and power in Serbia. Their fingerprints 
are all over this "revolution." The real space 
opening up is not for radicals and anarchists 
but for the IMF, World Bank and multination- 
al corporations to move in and exploit the 
Balkan resources. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 






r 


Alternative Media Review 


A Cavalier History of Surrealism 

Review by Alex O. Trotter 


A Cavalier History of Surrealism by Raoul 
Vaneigem (“Jules- Francois Dupuis”) & trans- 
lated by Donald Nicholson-Smith (AK Press, 
Edinburgh & San Francisco, 1999 [1977]) 
132pp., $9.95 paper. 

T hose familiar with Debord’s Society of 
the Spectacle will recall the thesis on 
Dada and Surrealism in the chapter on 
culture and consumption. Modern 
art concluded with these two move- 
ments, each of them committed to 
revolution but each suffering from a 
one-sided flaw; Dada attempted to 
abolish art with realizing it, and Sur- 
realism attempted to realize art with- 
out abolishing, or suppressing, it. 

The Situationists called for the re- 
uniting of the two halves of this un- 
happy dialectic through the simulta- 
neous realization and suppression of 
art in the course of a general prole- 
tarian revolution that transforms life. 

A Cavalier History of Surrealism ex- 
pands on this thesis which was pre- 
sented by Debord in a nutshell, al- 
though, of course, it is much more 
about Surrealism than Dada. In a 
prefatory Author’s Note, Vaneigem 
explains his choice of a pseudonym 
(the name of the janitor who worked 
in the building where Lautr6amont 
died) and describes his own book 
dismissively as "merely a diversion.” 

This attitude suggests either that Vaneigem 
thought a critique of Surrealism was not 
actually worth his time, or that this book is 
somehow not worthy of his best efforts. A 
Cavalier History was written in haste under 
contractual deadline for a French publisher 
who intended it for high school students, but 
it is a rewarding read (more so than Maurice 
Nadeau’s not-so-cavalier The History of 
Surrealism) and anything but a 
dumbed-down or lackadaisical text. Many of 
its themes are carried over from The Revolu- 
tion of Everyday Life, also written for "the 
young generations.” In fact, it is well over the 
heads of most American high school stu- 
dents, and probably of French ones, as well. 
Vaneigem says much in his brief work, and 
you get the feeling he could have said much 
more. Still, it’s the most interesting thing I’ve 
read concerning Surrealism since Andr6 
Thirion's Revolutionaries without Revolution. 

The History, in terms of events, can be 
summarized very selectively as follows: Early 
period, break with Dada (1923). 1924-25: 
“pivotal years" when the movement crystal- 
lized around Andr6 Breton, Louis Aragon, 
and Philippe Soupault, and when the first 


manifesto was written. There followed a 
growing involvement with the communist 
movement, beginning with contacts with 
intellectuals on the left wing of the French 
Communist Party who published a journal 
called Clart6. Breton joined the C.P. briefly in 
1927. The Second Manifesto of Surrealism 
appeared in 1 930, also the year Luis Bunuel 
and Salvador Dali joined the movement. 
Surrealism started to spread to other coun- 


tries, at first, notably, Czechoslovakia, later 
all over the world. In ' 1932, Aragon and 
Georges Sadoul traveled to the USSR, re- 
turning as starry-eyed soldiers of Stalinism. 
They were later joined by Paul.£luard. Breton 
broke with all of them. Breton and Benjamin 
P6ret rallied to the cause of Trotsky and the 
Fourth International (what Vaneigem calls 
their "lesser evil reformism”). But Peret’s 
Trotskyism, always very unorthodox, leaned 
toward anarchism, as he demonstrated in his 
commitment to fight for the revolution in 
Spain, first for the Marxist P.O.U.M., then for 
the anarchist Friends of Durruti. He was the 
only member of the Surrealist group to risk 
his life in such a direct way. Meanwhile, 
Antonin Artaud, who instinctively distrusted 
politics, explored extreme psychological 
states in existential response to the alienation 
of everyday life. The Second World War 
exiled the Surrealists from Europe. The main 
contingent followed Breton to New York, 
while P6ret and a few others opted for Mexi- 
co. After 1945 Surrealism broke no new 
ground; the politics became confused, and 
there was an increasing trend toward mysti- 
cism. The Surrealists were overshadowed by 


existentialism in France and Abstract Expres- 
sionism in the United States. They opposed 
the French colonial wars in Algeria and 
Indochina, and worked briefly with anar- 
chists. By the late 1960s, however, the resi- 
dues of Surrealism came out in support of 
the Stalinoid state- capital ism of revolutionary 
Cuba, which Vaneigem presents as evidence 
of the movement’s moribundity. He makes 
no mention of its continued presence in the 
United States, in the form of the 
Chicago group led by the Rose- 
monts. 

Surrealism is today usually re- 
membered for its expressions in 
visual art (e.g., the paintings of Max 
Ernst and Salvador Dali, or the films 
of Luis Bunuel), and it is seldom 
thought of in its historical and politi- 
cal dimensions. Surrealism made its 
appearance at the moment in history 
that the Situationists identified with 
the birth of the "society of the spec- 
tacle," and Victor Serge’s "midnight 
in the [twentieth] century": the dark- 
ness presided over by National So- 
cialism and National Bolshevism. It 
was a point at which it was becom- 
ing painfully obvious that art was 
inadequate to comfort or decorate a 
world in which the conditions of life 
itself were becoming degraded to 
such an extreme degree. This point 
had already been reached with the 
slaughter of the First World War, and 
now, in the same moment that the Nazis 
unleashed their mystique of death, the Surre- 
alists stepped forward as revolutionary de- 
fenders of life, love, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness (or an ideologized mystique thereof, as 
Vaneigem says). 

In the Second Manifesto of Surrealism 
Breton had made the statement that the 
simplest surrealist act would be to fire a 
pistol into a crowd at random. Vaneigem 
comments: “Once we have arrived at the sort 
of despair that impels us, following the logic 
of death that power imposes, to open fire 
into the crowd, there is only one way beyond 
this predicament, and that is the liquidation 
of power in the name of a dialectic of life and 
of all the hope life embodies.” In a time when 
high school students all over the U.S.A. have 
been blowing away their teachers and class- 
mates with abandon, a more on-point analy- 
sis would be difficult to make. The official 
response to the school shootings by media 
pundits suggested expanding the power of 
the death culture, not liquidating it. Come to 
think of it, this book ought indeed to find an 
audience among high schoolers. 

The death culture took its toll on the mem- 


ln Vaneigem’s view, Dada’s principal 
failure (“negativity without transcendence”) 
was more excusable than Surrealism’s 
(“transcendence without negativity”), 
because the Dadas were for the liquidation 
of culture, whereas the Surrealists tried to 
restore to art a life it no longer had or 
deserved. The Surrealists succumbed to 
two principal errors: they accepted the 
Bolshevik leadership of the revolutionary 
movement, and they attempted an 
overthrow of culture that was bound to fail 
given that Surrealism itself was a cultural 
phenomenon, and so they succeeded only 
in renewing culture’s lease on, and 
domination over, life. 


10 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Alternative Media Review 


I 


bers of the Surrealist group, among whom 
there were numerous suicides: Ren6 Crevel, 
Arshile Gorky, Oscar Dominguez, Jean-Pierre 
Duprey, Wolfgang Paalen, and Karel Teige. 

In Vaneigem’s view, Dada’s principal 
failure ("negativity without transcendence”) 
was more excusable than Surrealism's 
("transcendence without negativity”), be- 
cause the Dadas were for the liquidation of 
culture, whereas the Surrealists tried to 
restore to art a life it no longer had or de- 
served. The Surrealists succumbed to two 
principal errors: they accepted the Bolshevik 
leadership of the revolutionary movement, 
and they attempted an overthrow of culture 
that was bound to fail given that 
Surrealism itself was a cultural phe- 
nomenon, and so they succeeded 
only in renewing culture's lease on, 
and domination over, life. In other 
words, Surrealism did not go far 
enough in challenging the power of 
representation, both political and 
cultural, over directly lived experi- 
ence. Nevertheless, Vaneigem is 
willing to dispense praise where it is 
due, and decides that Surrealism’s 
failure was "honorable,” perhaps 
because the failure of the Dadaists’ 
and Surrealists’ assault on the cul- 
ture of modern capitalism ultimately 
hinged on a larger failure that was 
beyond their control — that of the 
classical workers’ movement to ef- 
fect the social revolution. 

Among the prominent figures and 
animators of the movement, 
Vaneigem expresses his highest 
regard for Andr6 Breton, Benjamin 
P6ret, and Antonin Artaud. Breton is usually 
thought of as the undisputed kingpin of 
Surrealism, but Vaneigem makes the case 
for P6ret as a figure of equal if not greater 
importance who was actually more radical 
than Breton. Breton's breaks with and expul- 
sions of a host of one-time associates, nota- 
bly Aragon (for his Stalinism) and Dali (for 
his clerical fascist sympathies and crass 
commercialism), are mostly commended and 
defended. Vaneigem’s attitude toward Breton 
is one of great ambivalence. He credits 
Breton as a brilliant thinker— -indeed, lets him 
have the last word in this book— but takes 
numerous critical digs at Surrealism’s chief 
theorist. 

Vaneigem's critique of Surrealism as ideol- 
ogy is twofold— covering both culture and 
politics. As for culture, Surrealism is criticized 
for clinging to art. Vaneigem demonstrates, 
on the whole, a disdain for the painters, most 
particularly the superstars Dali and Picasso. 
Other artists such as Max Ernst, Joan Miro, 
and Rene Magritte are criticized for being, 
well, artists, but are granted some grudging 
admiration as well, along with such 
non-Surrealist kindred spirits as Paul Klee 
and Giorgio de Chirico. Women were promi- 


nent in (and around) Surrealism as artists, if 
not as writers and intellectuals, but only one, 
the Czech artist Toyen, is mentioned in A 
Cavalier History. The most well known Surre- 
alist films are the two Bunuel/Dall collabo- 
rations, Un Chien andalou and L'Age d'or, 
which Vaneigem justifiably hails as master- 
pieces. Bunuel’s subsequent films are, how- 
ever, derided as the work of a cin6aste, a 
breed the Situationists poured their scorn 
upon. Dreams That Money Can Buy, by Man 
Ray, Hans Richter, and Max Ernst, is de- 
scribed as “a film that deserves to be better 
known in France." Well, I've seen this film, 
and didn’t think it was anything to write 


home about. 

Vaneigem identifies three stages of culture 
in decline. First there is self-liquidation. 
Examples cited are James Joyce for the 
novel, Duchamp for sculpture, Malevich for 
painting, and Satie for music. Then comes 
self-parody, the stage in which post- 
modernism seems to be stuck. Finally there 
is self-transcendence, meaning the “directly 
lived poetry" of insurrectionary moments, in 
which creativity takes the form of remaking 
the world itself. Vaneigem likens all artistic 
and intellectual movements after Surrealism’s 
half-revolution to "cultural cattle trough[s].” 
On the whole, I’m not inclined to argue with 
this view, although I have reservations. The 
end of culture he describes is really the end 
of high bourgeois culture. The novel may 
well have died near the beginning of the 
twentieth century, but I’m still going to enjoy 
the brilliance of, say, a Philip K. Dick. And I 
will admit to liking a lot of music after Erik 
Satie. , 

Coming out of the lineage of Romanti- 
cism's protest against the outrages of com- 
mercial and industrial civilization, the Surreal- 
ists valued childhood, dreams, primitive 
mythology, black humor, eroticism, and 


madness for their pristine subjectivity and 
nearness to authentic experience. B-ut this 
noble quest entailed several shortcomings. 
There were inconsistencies in the Surrealist 
views regarding love and passion. The early 
championship of “mad love” eventually 
yielded to what Vaneigem calls a “cult of 
Woman,” an absolute of elective and exclu- 
sive love that reinvented the Christian distinc- 
tion between the carnal and the spiritual and 
stood isolated from the totality of revolution- 
ary transformation. Breton took offense at 
such things as homosexuality and the idea 
that a man or a woman could have two 
lovers at once. This kind of attitude was at 
odds with Surrealism’s professed 
aim of the liberation of desire. Auto- 
matic writing, one of the principal 
Surrealist experiments, never real- 
ized its full potential, for example, in 
exploring a critique of language itself 
as a form of alienation (another front 
on which Dada had been more ad- 
vanced). Dreams were mined mostly 
for poetico-artistic inspiration without 
a sufficient awareness of the extent 
to which the engines of domination 
had become dream factories. 
Vaneigem wants the Surrealists to 
have agitated for putting the entire 
technological apparatus of modern 
society in the service of the realiza- 
tion of dreams, a puzzling stance 
that seems to place more faith in 
technology than is warranted. He 
compares the post-World War II 
Surrealists to Don Quixote in their 
defense of myth against the society 
of the spectacle, a product of their 
despairing view of history’s disappointments 
and atrocities. But did not the Situationists 
inherit some of the Surrealists' "nostalgia for 
chateau life”? And was their cause not just 
as quixotic? Perhaps what we have here is a 
Cavalier as well as a cavalier history! 

The Surrealists could never quite break 
with the ambition to be artists and men of 
letters, and they took Freud too much on his 
own terms, but it was in their involvement 
with Communist Party politics that they went 
most seriously astray. At first Breton et al. 
called for a "Surrealist revolution,” then 
scaled this ambition down to “Surrealism in 
the service of the revolution.” The Commu- 
nists were initially bemused by Surrealism, 
then outright hostile toward it, regarding it as 
an exercise in bourgeois solipsism. 
Vaneigem even compares some of Breton’s 
statements concerning the role of intellectu- 
als in the revolutionary process to Maoist 
pabulum about "serving the people.” Even at 
their best the Surrealists were largely oblivi- 
ous of the extent to which their project was 
incompatible with Marxism and Leninism. 
Vaneigem taxes the Surrealists with a late 
discovery of Hegel and an inadequate under- 
Continued on page 13 


Vaneigem identifies three stages of 
culture in decline. First there is 
self-liquidation. Examples cited are James 
Joyce for the novel, Duchamp for 
sculpture, Malevich for painting, and Satie 
for music. Then comes self-parody, the 
stage in which postmodernism seems to be 
stuck. Finally there is self-transcendence, 
meaning the “directly lived poetry” of 
insurrectionary moments, in which 
creativity takes the form of remaking the 
world itself. Vaneigem likens all artistic and 
intellectual movements after Surrealism’s 
half-revolution to “cultural cattle 
trough[s].” 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


11 




Alternative Media Review 


The Anarchist Tension 


Review by Jeff Shantz 

The Anarchist Tension by Alfredo M. 
Bonanno (Elephant Editions, BM Elephant, 
London, WC1N 3XX, England, 1998) 31pp., 
$2.50 pamphlet. 

A narchists inhabit an uncomfortable 
planet in any case because when 
the struggle is going well they are forgotten 
about and when the struggle goes badly 
they are accused of being responsi- 
ble, of having approached it the 
wrong way, of haying taken it to the 
wrong Conclusions.” (p.30) 

The Anarchist Tension is yet an- 
other attractive pamphlet from Ele- 
phant Editions. The text consists of 
a talk given by Bonanno at some or 
other unnamed conference and 
begins with the author-lecturer ask- 
ing the question, "What is anar- 
chism?” Bonanno suggests that this 
is a question which always bids 
asking, first because anarchists are 
often unable to give much of an 
answer ourselves, and, mote impor- 
tantly, because "anarchism” is an 
evolving notion. 

"Because it is not a definition that can be 
made once and for all, put in a safe and 
considered a patrimony to be tapped little by 
little. Being an anarchist does not mean one 
has reached a certainty, or said once and for 
all, There, from now on I hold the truth and 
as such, at least from the point of view of the 
idea, I am a privileged person.’ Anyone who 
thinks like this is an anarchist in word alone." 
(pp.3-4) 

Much of the pamphlet is devoted to 
Bonanno’s argument for the importance of 
living anarchy — of making ideas, feelings, 
aesthetics, desires and actions one in life. 

"When we wake up in the morning and put 
our feet on the ground we must have a good 
reason for getting up, if we don't it makes no 
difference whether we are anarchists or not. 
We might as well stay in bed and sleep." 
(P-4) 

Life, for anarchists, holds a qualitatively 
different character than for democrats. In 
response to democratic criticisms of anar- 
chism, Bonanno responds that anarchism is 
not a quantification, a success or failure, but 
an ongoing tension. 

“This is the critique we need to throw back 
at the supporters of democracy. If we anar- 
chists are Utopians, we are so as a tension 
towards quality; if democrats are Utopians, 
they are so as a reduction towards quantity. 
And against reduction, against the atrophy 
lived in a dimension of the minimum possible 
damage for them, and the maximum damage 


for the great number of people who are 
exploited, to this miserable reality we oppose 
our utopia which is at least a utopia of quali- 
ty, a tension towards another future, one that 
will be radically different to what we are living 
now." (p.8) 

What is needed is action to break the lies 
of the democratic dystopians. 

"Because any one of us can realise we 
have been swindled, because we have finally 


realised what is being done to our detriment. 
And in rising up against it all we can change 
not only the reality of things within the limits 
that it is possible to know them, but also 
one's life, make it worthy of being lived.” 
(P-9) 

Anarchism is always more than the sum of 
events and actions, of theories, people and 
movements. It's this precisely this "some- 
thing other" which, according to Bonanno, 
ensures that anarchy lives on. 

"So we continually need to maintain a rela- 
tionship between this tension towards some- 
thing absolutely other, the unthinkable, the 
unsayable, a dimension we must realise 
without very well knowing how to, and the 
daily experience of the things we can and 
do, do. A precise relationship of change, of 
transformation.” (p.10) 

Bonanno cautions that anarchists not 
make any idea into a religious concept, 
something which comforts us in our present 
misery with promises of delivery and salva- 
tion in some indeterminate future. Nice ideas, 
uncritically held, do not solve problems but 
mystify and cloud them over. 

“Now freedom is an idea we must hold in 
our hearts, but at the same time we need to 
understand that if we desire it we must be 
ready to face ell the risks that destruction 
involves, all the risks of destroying the consti- 
tuted order we are living under. Freedom is 
not a concept to cradle ourselves in, in the 
hope that improvements will develop inde- 
pendently of our real capacity to intervene.” 


(P-14). 

Anarchists, thus need to break through 
"massified ideas” (p.15), the reduction of 
thought to "flattened," “uniform” and "accept- 
able" opinions. “We are not for more free- 
dom. More freedom is given to the slave 
when his chains are lengthened. We are for 
the abolition of the chain, so we are for 
freedom, not more freedom.” (p. 1 3) 

In one of the more insightful passages, 
Bonanno relates transformations 
within the workplace, i.e. flexible 
production, to the socialization of a 
"new human,” the "flexible person 
with modest ideas, rather opaque in 
their desires, with considerably re- 
duced cultural levels, impoverished 
language, standardised reading, a 
limited capacity to think and a great 
capacity to make yes or no deci- 
sions.” (p.20) Lean production be- 
comes the model for human expec- 
tation and experience. This “lean 
identity" extends the workplace 
throughout society rendering capital 
fully social. 

"What will they do with such a 
person? They will use them to bring about all 
the modifications that are necessary to re- 
structuring capital. They will be useful for a 
better management of the conditions and 
relations of the capitalism of tomorrow.... 
This new person is quite the opposite of 
what we are capable of imagining or desire; 
the opposite of quality, creativity, the oppo- 
site of real desire, the Joy of life, the oppo- 
site of all this." (p.20) 

Despite this concern, Bonanno does not 
view the working class as the center of social 
structure or social analysis. He urges anar- 
chists to think beyond both Marx and 
anarcho-syndicalists since, in his view, “the 
working class has practically disintegrated" 
(p.23) a claim that does not appear valid in 
the face of more people doing more lousy 
work for more time. A better analysis might 
be found in George Caffentzis' writings on 
the return of slavery. 

Unfortunately, Bonanno offers only a 
limited caricature of anarcho-syndicalism. 
Syndicalists, contrary to Bonanno's depic- 
tion, have not argued for the simple control 
by workers of existing productive structures. 
Syndicalists have argued for a new world, 
but recognize that it is unlikely to occur 
unless workers break the chains of capitalist 
social relations (including work relations). 

For all this Bonanno is no anti-organiza- 
tionalist. He argues that anarchists need 
agile organizations, since "power realises 
itself in time and space" (p.29), and sees the 
Continued on next page 


Now freedom is an idea we must hold in 
our hearts, but at the same time we need to 
understand that if we desire it we must be 
ready to face all the risks that destruction 
involves, all the risks of destroying the 
constituted order we are living under. 
Freedom is not a concept to cradle 
ourselves in, in the hope that 
improvements will develop independently 
of our real capacity to intervene. 


12 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Alternative Media Review 


Anarchism & American Traditions 


Review by Jeff Shantz 

Anarchism (4 American Traditions by 
Voltairine de Cleyre (See Sharp Press, POB 
6118, San Francisco, CA 94101, 1989) 16pp., 
$1.00 pamphlet. 

I he American anarchist Benjamin Tucker 

" declared famously that anarchists were 
simply "unterrified Jeffersonians" (a dubious 
proposition to be sure). In her essay Anar- 
chism & American Traditions, Voltairine de 
Cleyre contrasts Jefferson's heady words 
with the sorry reality of the US republic of the 
19th Century. 

De Cleyre sees in American intellectual 
history a tradition of hostility to central gov- 
ernment, grown from religious rebellion, 
small self-reliant communities, isolated condi- 
tions and hard life. Sadly, this tradition has 
not amounted to much in the face of expand- 
ing and strengthening government authority. 
If the Revolution was a blow against tyranny, 
then those aspects of it which promised a 
defense of liberty have been contorted into 
the mechanisms of governmental power. 

Of course the punchline is that Jefferson 
gave the game away right from the first play 
by supporting a constitutional "compromise 
between liberty and government.” Jefferson 
was not primarily concerned with abolishing 
political authority, but simply wished some 
increase in popular involvement. Likewise, he 
had no interest in any reforms which might 
threaten private property. In accepting gov- 
ernment as a "necessary evil" the future of 
tyranny was assured. 

The great fear expressed in this pamphlet 
concerns the carelessness and lack of vigi- 
lance of a public grown complacent and 
confident regarding the institutions which 
govern them (a worry she also sees in 
Jefferson’s early writings). Her pamphlet is a 
cry for recognition of the theft of people's 
liberties by "governmental force, fraud, and 
privilege.” (p.8) Where the public sleeps the 
State marauds. As she so aptly puts it: "The 
right of assemblage is an American tradition 
which has gone out of fashion; the police 
club is now the mode. And it is so in virtue of 
peoples’ indifference to liberty.. ." (13) In 
place of complacence and acquiescence, de 
Cleyre urges watchfulness and determina- 
tion. 

Not surprisingly, de Cleyre is most en- 
raged by the falsification of acts of rebellion 
(both historic and contemporary) which serve 
only to slander the rebels while legitimizing 
each act of the government. Without a sense 
of the meaning behind such acts, the "Ameri- 
can Revolution" becomes nothing more than 
an exceptional case, the one acceptable 
instance of something to be detested in all 


other cases — with the Boston Tea Party 
rebels as “the one sacrosanct mob in all 
history.” (p.8) De Cleyre seeks to rescue 
other instances of rebellion and dissent from 
the dustbin of history and provides examples 
from early US history to show manifestations 
of the instinct against centralization and 
governmental ization. 

A particular impediment to be overcome is 
the servile character of public education 
which serves not to nourish yearnings for 
liberty, but instead to foster obedience to 
government. Instead of emphasizing the 
libertarian themes of the revolution, public 
educators stress the necessity for govern- 
ment involvement in greater realms of private 
activity. For de Cleyre, governmental man- 
agement of education (along with develop- 
ments of industry) is one of the main forces 
distorting traditions of freedom and equality. 

...De Cleyre is most enraged by 
the falsification of acts of rebellion 
(both historic and contemporary) 
which serve only to slander the 
rebels while legitimizing each act of 
the government. Without a sense of 
the meaning behind such acts, the 
“American Revolution” becomes 
nothing more than an exceptional 
case, the one acceptable instance of 
something to be detested in all other 
cases — with the Boston Tea Party 
rebels as “the one sacrosanct mob 
in all history.” 

As a corrective to the dull propaganda suf- 
fered by victims of public school de Cleyre 
offers her assessment in this short piece. 

So, what is the likelihood that people will 
break out of their indifference and subservi- 
ence. Given her sense that most Americans 
of her day greatly prefer material posses- 
sions to liberty, de Cleyre’s prognosis is 
bleak: "I have no hope that they will ever, by 
means of intellectual or moral stirrings mere- 
ly, throw off the yoke of oppression fastened 
on them by the present economic system, to 
institute free societies.” (p. 1 5) Her vision be- 
comes one of despair in which she can only 
imagine change resulting from the blind 
development of the economy and related 
political oppression: only when people are 
faced with the prospect of "sitting down and 
dying in the midst of it, or confiscating the 
goods." (p.15) Anarchism or barbarism. 

This remains, however, a worthwhile read. 


While there is not much in it that will be new 
for anyone familiar with anarchist political 
theory it does offer a nice introduction to an 
anarchist critique of republicanism. I recom- 
mend it especially for all recent victims of 
public education. 


A Cavalier History 
of Surrealism 

continued from page 1 1 

standing of dialectics that left them suscepti- 
ble to the influence of the hack dialecticians 
of the Third and Fourth Internationals. Breton 
had once called for “a thoroughgoing cri- 
tique of certain aspects of the thought of 
Lenin and even of Marx,” a task he never 
followed up on. Vaneigem and his 
Situationist comrades took this kind of cri- 
tique quite a bit further than the Surrealists 
had done, but still not far enough. Theirs too 
we could call an honorable failure. 

The Situationists owed much to Surreal- 
ism, for good and ill. In the Surrealists’ em- 
brace of fortuitous encounters lie the origins 
of the derive] the wordplay and photo- 
montages of the Dadas are the forerunners 
of Situationist d6tournement. The Surrealist 
practice of exclusions and expulsions, even 
to the point of excess, for the sake of pre- 
serving the group’s purity of purpose was 
replicated faithfully by the Situationists, with 
Debord filling Breton’s shoes. No one today 
should be content with merely imitating 
Surrealism. But for all their shortcomings, 
Dada, Surrealism, and their Lettrist/Situa- 
tionist heirs remain important points of de- 
parture for the radical movements of today 
and tomorrow. 


The Anarchist Tension 

continued from previous page 
small affinity group as the most effective 
form. Not just a group of folks getting togeth- 
er for a party or chat, as in Bey's autono- 
mous zones, the affinity group is a place of 
conscious preparation for action. Different 
affinity groups will bring their ideas to other 
groups through an informal federation. Curi- 
ously, much of Bonanno's discussion on this 
matter does not sound overly dissimilar to 
some notions of anarcho-syndicalism. 

This is a work that raises as many ques- 
tions as it answers, which is its strength. 
While some of Bonanno’s suggestions are 
insufficiently addressed here, leaving many 
of his arguments unconvincing, it remains a 
compelling piece animated by an over- 
arching commitment to action. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


13 





Alternative Media Review 


Anarchism, Marxism, 
and the Future of the Left 


Review by Lawrence Jarach 

Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the 
Left; Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998 by 
Murray Bookchin (AK Press, POB 40682, San 
Francisco, CA 94140-0682; and POB 12766, 
Edinburgh, EH8 9 YE, Scotland, 1999) 352pp., 
S19.95 paper.' 

I really resent the fact that, in order 
■ to be as careful as possible with 
my critique of this hefty tome, I have 
had to read it cover to cover three 
times. That’s at least two times too 
many for what I knew was going to 
be a bitterly ire-provoking experi- 
ence. My suspicions were not un- 
founded; alas, I would prefer my 
intuitive capabilities (such as they 
are) to be used in the pursuit of 
more pleasurable endeavors. There 
is something on almost every page 
of this compendium that is either 
objectionable or provocative; howev- 
er, because I merely wanted to write 
a review rather than a detailed refu- 
tation of Murray’s authoritarian opin- 
ions, I have picked several examples 
of his nonsense and arranged them themati- 
cally for easy reading in the sections that 
follow. 

Murray the SHOUTER 
or LOUDER isn’t truer 

In the preface, Murray alerts his readers 
that his political project is an attempt "to 
create a left-libertarian synthesis” (p.10) of 
what he sees as the best parts of the leftist 
and anarchist traditions. Unfortunately, by 
preserving the old he cannot break with the 
old; his nostalgia is a straitjacket. Because 
his project rests on his sentimental reminis- 
cences and yearnings for "The Left That 
Was," he can't move beyond certain authori- 
tarian patterns that were established in his 
early career as a Stalinist, then as a 
Trotskyist. Fortunately for the reader, he is 
delightfully candid about them, so anyone 
can see exactly where he first developed that 
crankiness that's become more vociferous 
and increasingly authoritarian in the last 
decade or so. 

If Bookchin is merely a contemptible loud 
mouth whose writings have little relevance to 
contemporary anarchic theory and practice, 
then why not just ignore his rambling rants 
and irritable musings? Partly it’s due to the 
fact that at least some people in the anar- 
chist scene, anticipating Murray’s every 


utterance with breathless excitement, still 
consider him to be a leading thinker and 
writer, and anarcho-leaders have been (and 
indeed should be) challenged throughout 
anarchist history. This is my contribution to 
that fine tradition. Besides, he continues to 


wail, to blame, to excommunicate, to de- 
nounce, to whine... in short, to revert to the 
Marxist- Leninist tradition of his early youth: "I 
would face my expectant, sometimes hostile 
audience sternly and begin talking at the top 
of my lungs so that I could be heard over the 
voices of the other speakers across the 
street... Our voices had to be loud and force- 
ful, and our gestures— generally raising our 
arms and clenching our fists— had to be very 
dramatic” (p.34). In other words, he just 
won’t shut up. Each new attempt by 
Bookchin and other authoritarian anarchists 
to confine anarchism within narrow (often 
self-referential) boundaries demands a new 
response; the dangers of such ideological 
limitations to a wider antiauthoritarian project 
need to be continually exposed. 

Murray the interviewee 
or Bookchin’s just-so stories 

Oral history, the interviewing of partici- 
pants and eyewitnesses, has become an 
increasingly validated method of enhancing 
historical narratives. The format of conscious 
subjectivity helps to balance, if not under- 
mine altogether, the idea of the Great Man of 
History. Oral history is part of a larger 
antiauthoritarian project; it brings the concept 
of the personal-as-political into a more ana- 
lytical context, thereby acknowledging the 


power and influence of individuals who are 
not involved in political policy decisions. 

With that said, it is also clear that there are 
numerous problems with oral history if it is 
used independently of investigative (or more 
objective and scholarly) history. Selective 
memory, self-censorship, skewed 
chronologies, and any number of 
more cynical ways to make the inter- 
viewee look better and/or more im- 
portant are all part of the hazards of 
relying solely on autobiographical 
accounts for historical analysis. Per- 
sonal experiences and first-hand 
knowledge (creatively reworked or 
not) can easily get mixed up with 
second- and third-hand gossip, ru- 
mor, and speculation, further erod- 
ing the person’s reliability. It is there- 
fore important for an interviewer 
and/or editor to have some serious 
background in the topics/years be- 
ing covered in the interview(s) ; spec- 
ulations can be challenged or dis- 
carded, assertions and opinions can 
be checked and separated from 
facts, chronologies can be correct- 
ed. Oral history can flesh out otherwise 
remote and dry analysis with exciting and 
engaging personal stories. Without a balance 
of less subjective inquiry, however, oral 
history can be a cranky collection of self- 
serving rants, a string of axe-grinding anec- 
dotes. Bookchin's oral history is riddled with 
this lack of balance. 

In Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of 
the Left, Murray’s reminiscences and subjec- 
tive analyses replace the Great Man of Histo- 
ry thesis with the I Am The Great Man of 
History thesis. He gives himself credit for all 
sorts of innovations; but if someone else 
became famous for something he supposed- 
ly thought of first, well, that was just because 
they had more access to better publicity. 

Murray the innovator 

or If he does say so himself 

"I wrote a fiery leaflet called ‘Stop the 
Bomb, ’...my leaflet really produced a pro- 
found effect on many of the peace activists 
that I knew" (p.51). What was the effect and 
how do we know about it? Unfortunately for 
the interested reader, the oral history format 
allows Murray to make any outrageous claim 
he wants without citing independent sources 
to corroborate his assertions. 

In 1962, Bookchin wrote Our Synthetic 
Environment. "I surveyed agriculture and 


In the preface, Murray alerts his readers 
that his political project is an attempt “to 
create a left-libertarian synthesis” of what 
he sees as the best parts of the leftist and 
anarchist traditions. Unfortunately, by 
preserving the old he cannot break with the 
old; his nostalgia is a straitjacket. Because 
his project rests on his sentimental 
reminiscences and yearnings for “The Left 
That Was,” he can’t move beyond certain 
authoritarian patterns that were established 
in his early career as a Stalinist.... 


14 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Alternative Media Review 


demanded that we turn toward organic forms 
of agriculture... I was advancing fairly innova- 
tive ideas, although they were not exclusively 
my own... I argued for an alternative technolo- 
gy, or what I called an ‘eco-technology.’” But 
then ”[s]ix months later, Rachel Carson 
came out with Silent Spring and swamped 
whatever readership I might have gained. My 
book sold reasonably well, mainly within the 
scientific community I may say... But she 
didn’t make, by any means, the wide-ranging 
critique that I did. ..I tried to raise broader 
issues... I was calling for the abolition of 
hierarchies... of states" (pp.53-4). Further, he 
insists, "I pioneered criticism, from a left 
perspective, precisely of fertilizers 
and petrochemical pesticides” 

(p.249). In a rare moment of candor, 
he admits that his "innovative” ideas 
are "not exclusively [his] own,” but 
then complains when someone else 
advances similar (but better written?) 
ideas that are more popular. How 
does he (or we) know that his book 
sold "reasonably well”? By what 
criteria can he (or we) judge such a 
statement? And how the hell does 
he know that it sold at all "within the 
scientific community"? Did he track 
each sale of the book, giving each 
purchaser a questionnaire concern- 
ing their professions? 

“There is a long history of an ever- 
expanding horizon of freedom, and 
I tried to contribute to it in the 1960s 
by advancing the notion of a nonhierarchical 
society. This notion has now been accepted 
as conventional wisdom, even on the part of 
my critics" (pp.273-4). Incredibly, Murray 
credits himself with "advancing” an idea that 
every anarchist in the previous 100 years or 
so has been busily and tirelessly promoting. 

“I developed a form of ecological 
anarchism... the name I gave it.. .was social 
ecology. I started writing about it earnestly in 
the 1960s... I wrote 'Towards a Liberatory 
Technology,’ in which I called for the use 
of... all the different renewable forms of 
energy.. .it was E. F. Schumacher who made 
them very popular in Small Is Beautiful, but 
as his references show, he was familiar with 
my work when he did so. The ecology move- 
ment now takes alternative, renewable ener- 
gy for granted, as though the idea came 
from the heavens” (pp.56-7). Once again, 
someone else supposedly took Murray’s 
innovations and popularized them. Schu- 
macher’s book, like Carson’s— and unlike 
Bookchin’s — is still in print, so I looked up 
the citations. It turns out that they concern 
the widespread dissatisfaction of city people 
with the alienation of modern urban exis- 
tence. In fact, there’s nothing at all concern- 
ing renewable “eco-technology” in that 
section of Small Is Beautiful. Bookchin is 
being blatantly dishonest. 

"In 1967 I was working with a collective 


called the Anarchos Group... [which] turned 
out a magazine that tried to spread its 
ideas— with remarkable influence, in some 
respects.” (p.85) (How did he track this 
“influence”?) Then, sometime in 1968, "my 
Anarchos group... asked ourselves what was 
needed. What was needed, I thought, was a 
coherent movement" (p.97). (In 1967, the 
Anarchos Group is a collective; one year 
later, it’s his Anarchos group. Is that just a 
slip of the tongue?) Anarchists had been 
trying to build such an influential movement 
since the days of the First International 
(1864-76). Murray’s call for “a coherent 
movement” was already a hundred years old. 


Murray the wordsmith 
or Grammar is a stupid thing 

An area where Bookchin is indisputably 
innovative is in the construction of what I like 
to call Murraywords and Murraygrammar. 
Murraywords are bad enough, but when 
used with Murraygrammar (as in the next 
section), the situation becomes even worse. 
Here are some examples: 

• Equatable (p.1 18); here he means equiva- 
lent, equal in value, rather than what he tried 
to say (badly): able to be equated. 

• Invertebracy (p.1 50); he means lacking in 
strength, but the real word is invertebrate, 
which is both a noun and an adjective. There 
is no corresponding abstract noun describ- 
ing a condition of having no spine. 

• Processual (p.1 55); he must mean some- 
thing like advancing or evolutionary but the 
Murraygrammar where this Murrayword 
occurs is too confusing to come to a defini- 
tive conclusion. 

• Fundament (p.265); this one is more 
tricky, since fundament is a real word. My 
dictionary defines fundament as "an underly- 
ing ground, theory, or principle," making 
Bookchin’s use problematic. My guess is that 
he really means foundation, but wanted to 
sound more intellectual than he really is. 


♦ Equivocally (p.268); again, he’s using a 
real word, but incorrectly — I think. According 
to my dictionary, the word means undecided 
or obscure. I’m certain he meant to say 
especially or perhaps even unequivocally. 

Communication is dependent upon clear 
language; clear language is dependent upon 
adhering to grammatical standards. From an 
antiauthoritarian perspective, grammar is a 
double-edged sword. On the one hand, it 
can be used as a means of repression, by 
controlling how we are able (or not) to articu- 
late our critiques and analyses; on the other 
hand, by knowing how to use grammar as a 
tool, we can open up new possibili- 
ties in language, and hopefully, 
thought and action. Imagination and 
poetry in language, thought, and 
action is impossible without a certain 
amount of grammar. It is with this in 
mind that I object to arbitrary neolo- 
gisms and sloppy language. Be- 
sides, on a more mundane level, 
confusing and/or poor language 
impedes authentic (and most defi- 
nitely egalitarian) communication. 

Murray the art critic 
or A tale of two covers 

“To ordinary people.. .no protest is 
more frivolous than the sight of a 
spindly kid throwing a stone at a 
cop (as in the cover art on Black’s 
Anarchy after Leftism)— the image, par excel- 
lence, of irresponsible, juvenile bravado” 
(p.244). This awkward sentence is a 
paradigmatic example of Murraygrammar; it’s 
difficult to figure out exactly what he's trying 
to say, except that he disapproves of the 
cover art of Anarchy after Leftism. But is he 
saying that it’s the "spindly kid throwing a 
stone” or the "sight of a spindly kid throwing 
a stone” that’s the most frivolous protest to 
"ordinary people"? I'm willing to go out on a 
limb and assume that he meant the former, 
but unfortunately, his syntax points to the 
latter. This means that he thinks that “ordi- 
nary people" who look at the cover of Bob's 
book will see the most frivolous protest. 
Aside from his patronizing attitude toward 
non-radicals (he magically knows exactly 
how they will respond to this photo), by 
pontificating in this confused manner, 
Bookchin ignores the fact that a great deal of 
social protest is fueled by bravado (juvenile 
or not). Manifest outrage (from silent civil 
disobedience all the way through open 
insurrection) in the face of overwhelming 
odds is often seen as the height of danger- 
ous irresponsibility— and our sage elders 
have no compunction about informing us of 
it every time we try to break out of their 
control. The anti-WTO demonstrations in 
Seattle have further polarized the ones with 
the bravado and the ones who urge caution 


If Bookchin is merely a contemptible loud 
mouth whose writings have little relevance 
to contemporary anarchic theory and 
practice, then why not just ignore his 
rambling rants and irritable musings? 

Partly it’s due to the fact that at least some 
people in the anarchist scene, anticipating 
Murray’s every utterance with breathless 
excitement, still consider him to be a 
leading thinker and writer, and anarcho- 
leaders have been (and indeed should be) 
challenged throughout anarchist history. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


15 




Alternative Media Review 


and restraint. By saying that it’s an “image" 
problem instead of a content problem, he’s 
just judging the book by its cover. 

Well, if he wants to play that game, I can 
too. The cover of Anarchism, Marxism and 
the Future of the Left shows “Carlo Tresca 
speaking in New York City at the Sacco- 
Vanzetti Rally.” The Sacco-Vanzetti Rally?! 
There were many rallies in support of Sacco 
and Vanzetti in New York, not just the one in 
the photo, and Tresca spoke at several of 
them. The choice of Tresca and the support 
of Sacco and Vanzetti is odd; it goes counter 
to the flow of Bookchin’s autobiographical 
anecdotes. Murray was just six years old 
when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
executed those two anarchists, and he 
never once mentions Tresca. The judicial 
murder of Sacco and Vanzetti made an 
impression on him, but it was limited to 
watching his parents and neighbors buy 
newspapers on the night of their execution: 
"All the lights in my neighborhood came 
on, and everyone came out, some in their 
nightclothes, to get a paper. The sense of 
solidarity was intense!” (p.21). 

After seven years of legal wrangling, 
widespread and very large protests by 
people espousing a broad spectrum of 
political opinions from the liberal to the 
revolutionary, the state still fried them. The 
solidarity with Sacco and Vanzetti surely 
had taken place during those seven years 
of actions from the time of their arrests. 
Upon receiving the news of their murders, 
the sense of defeat must have been more 
intense. This unfortunate episode looks 
more like the solidarity of impotent outrage. 

Carlo Tresca is a strange choice for a 
cover hero. He was the most flamboyantly 
bourgeois of any famous anarchoid in the 
US in the first half of the 20th century. He 
approved of the electoral victory of the 
Italian Socialist Party in 1919 in keeping 
with his dedication to revolutionary 
syndicalism— this after his break with the 
IWW over the issue of his conspicuous 
friendships with rich lawyers and lawmen. His 
continued intimate relationship with authori- 
tarian leftists like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn — 
even after she helped found the Communist 
Party— didn't make him a favorite of anar- 
chists either. 

Murray could have had Alexander 
Berkman (who also spoke at several Sacco 
and Vanzetti rallies) on the cover, or 
Kropotkin, or Bakunin, or some other 19th 
century figure. But Tresca — the least radical 
of any of the non-radical left anarchists of the 
last hundred years... makes you wonder what 
sort of message is behind it. 

Murray the grumpy pessimist 
or Anarchism today 

Bookchin's AMFL was written before the 
Seattle anti-WTO events, so we can perhaps 


forgive Murray for the extremely dreary pessi- 
mism of this statement: “These are the worst 
of times in the history of anarchism" (p.124). 
N30 was a watershed that has brought 
anarchists and anarchism renewed recogni- 
tion in the political discourse of those who 
previously could ignore them. Bookchin 
dismisses visible, noisy anarchists like those 
in Seattle because they “are basically having 
fun” (p.125) by engaging in impolite street 
actions. That may be true; it sure looked like 
fun. But it is also true that most of the anar- 
chists who were in Seattle (at least those not 
aligned with pacifists), were “basically" chal- 
lenging the static tactics of protest-as- usual 


LIFE IS SHORT. 
THROW HARD. 



(sit down, get beaten up and/or arrested, 
watch it on TV, exaggerate self-importance in 
social change because of media attention). 
The renewed discussions and interest in 
things anarchic in the wake of thfese unapol- 
ogetically radical anti-capitalist actions was 
brought about precisely through the actions 
of a dedicated group of "people who call 
themselves anarchists and ...break 
windows... set garbage cans on fire, wave 
black flags” (p.124) instead of anonymously 
hanging on to the coattails of polite green or 
red reformists. What claims can Murray make 
about getting anarchism to be taken serious- 

,y? , , 
But still, "Anarchism is in retreat today 

(p.154). Amazingly, these times of "retreat” 
are not due to the repressive actions of 
capitalists or Leninists, the traditional ene- 
mies of anarchism. Instead, his creation (and 


I willingly attribute its fabrication to 
Bookchin), the dreaded “lifestyle anarchist," 
is to blame for this disarray. We're doing it to 
ourselves (well, actually Murray says that 
every anarchist who isn’t a Social Ecologist 
is doing it to him and his beloved ideology). 
Certainly none of this “retreat" could be due 
(wholly or in part) to the perception of anar- 
chists and other interested people that Social 
Ecology and Libertarian Municipalism are 
irrelevant provincial pastimes best suited to 
the kids who gravitate to the Institute of 
Social Ecology ghetto of northwestern Ver- 
mont. 

Murray the Green 
or Where’s the party? 

Murray was proudly "involved with the 
German Greens when they began to orga- 
nize as far back as the late 1970s and early 
1980s," and "before the Greens became 
large organizations, one of the main points 
I emphasized was the importance of using 
a libertarian municipalist approach to poli- 
tics.” He also claims that he was "publicly 
arguing against their entry” (p.344) into 
German parliament. Like others before and 
since, the Greens refused to heed his 
advice. But he seems to have missed or 
ignored the tension between the fundis and 
realos that was present long before they 
took their seats in the German parliament 
for the first time in 1983. 

The fundis (adherents to the fundamental 
principles of this "anti-party party”) were 
more interested in the ecological policy 
issues that could be raised publicly and 
debated through electoral campaigns; the 
realos (those with a realistic political ambi- 
tions) were of the opinion that if they could 
get more Greens into the Bundestag, they 
would have a better chance of changing 
anti-ecological policies and implementing 
eco-friendly ones. The fundis were more 
interested in maintaining a principled oppo- 
sitional posture, while the realos were 
always willing to form coalitions with other 
parties (the further intricacies of the strife 
within the Greens escape me). 

Murray's pal from those early days, current 
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (an original 
realo), is called "the former anarchist." 
Murray "knew,.. Fischer at a time when [he 
was] still [an] anarchist" (p.344). At which 
point did his status change? Fischer pub- 
lished the following characterization of 
Bookchin’s irreplaceable decision-making 
procedure in 1983: direct democracy is "a 
green hell, as dangerous as the tropical 
rainforests of the Amazon" (quoted in The 
Subversion of Politics by George Katsiaficas, 
p.205). The utter contempt Fischer showed 
for this integral component of Libertarian 
Municipalism might have been expected to 
end their political association then and there, 
but the only indication we get from Bookchin 


16 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


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as to why Fischer is beyond the pale is that 
Murray was upset when his old buddy be- 
came environmental minister for the state of 
Hesse fwo years later, in December 1985. A 
further quote from Katsiaficas (pp. 242-3) is in 
order here: "In 1980, Bookchin... referred to 
local activists [in the US] whose ideological 
affinity had nothing to do with anarchism... 
anarchists such as Bookchin apparently feel 
a compulsion to justify their political ideology 
through a presentation of political reality that 
is less than accurate." 

Sure, Murray foresaw the danger that the 
Greens would "become corrupted” (p.344) 
through parliamentarianism, but any person 
committed to direct action could 
have (and did!) as well. What is 
Bookchin’s analysis and conclusion 
from Green participation in perpetual 
electoral farces? Certainly not that 
parliamentary democracy should be 
avoided —just that a national level 
parliament should be avoided if 
there is no “basis in the local com- 
munity" (p.344). His criticism of the 
German and American Greens is 
that they didn’t use the “libertarian 
municipalist approach to politics." It 
is clear that Bookchin isn’t interested 
in direct action; he's interested in 
directed action (he is the Director 
Emeritus of the Institute for Social 
Ecology, after all). Murray's support 
is not based on what the Greens (or 
others) did and do, but whether or 
not they follow his advice. 

Murray the democrat 
or This is for your own good 

Analysts of the 1969 split in Students for a 
Democratic Society (SDS) focus on the 
three-way tension between RYM 1 (Revolu- 
tionary Youth Movement One), RYM 2, and 
Progressive Labor (PL). But, according to 
Bookchin, "they seem not to know that there 
was a fourth faction: the Radical Decentralist 
Project. This was the faction that the 
Anarchos Group formed at the convention 
with the SDS members who supported our 
ideas. ..We formed a caucus and wrote a 
multipage statement... argued that SDS 
should address broader issues like ecology, 
community, libertarian forms of political 
organization... our caucus numbered about 
250 members, approximately ten percent of 
the convention participants” (pp. 100-1). 

Usually what occurs after a split is what 
interests historians and analysts; each RYM 
eventually became another group (Weather- 
man and the Revolutionary Communist Party, 
USA), and PL became the Progressive Labor 
Party (PLP). What happened to the Radical 
Decentralist Project? "I gave up— I 
realized. .. that the Radical Decentralist Project 
would have to organize an alternative student 
movement” (p.102). Later in ‘69 came the 


conference that was supposed to "provide 
an alternative to the dissolution of SDS, 
based on left-libertarian principles. All the 
conference had to do was write a 
statement... A perfectly good statement was 
already available for use: the Anarchos 
statement... but [it] was not used, nor was 
any other existing statement adopted that the 
group could have endorsed" (p.104). 

So nothing happened with the Radical 
Decentralist Project. Perhaps this is the 
reason that no histories of SDS pay any 
attention to it; there's nothing to analyze. The 
SDS convention, where his caucus num- 
bered perhaps as many as 10% of the whole 


(for a majoritarian like Bookchin, such an 
insignificant minority must nowadays seem 
more like a nuisance than a conscience), 
was too busy with inter-Maoist one- 
upmanship to "Listen, Marxist!" and the 
Black River conference participants wouldn’t 
accept his group's "perfectly good state- 
ment.” And that was the end of that. If only 
SDS had paid attention to his group's pro- 
ject; if only the Black River folks had used 
his group’s statement... if only people would 
just listen to Murray and follow his advice. 
Nobody likes a whiner, and complaints about 
everybody else are no substitute for looking 
in the mirror. Bookchin constantly laments 
that people didn't (and still won't) listen to 
him; maybe it’s what he says or maybe it's 
the way he says it. In any case, his legacy is 
a string of failures. 

Murray the racist 
or Black Power sucks 

Bookchin has no problems with feminists: 
“I warmly supported the radical feminist 
movement” (p.1 1 6). On a generic level, 
feminism is the self-valorization and self- 
organization of women as women, indepen- 
dent from patriarchal patterns of subordina- 
tion. As such, it isn’t objectionable from an 
anarchist perspective, even if separatism 
comes to dominate its theory and practice; 


after all, anarchists are in favor of self-organi- 
zation. But when it comes to African-Ameri- 
cans who yearn for self-valorization and self- 
organization independent from racist patterns 
of subordination, well, that’s a different story. 
The civil rights movement was fine: “In 1964 
it demanded integration... When [Martin 
Luther] King [Jr.] said he wanted all of hu- 
manity to enjoy the benefits of freedom, his 
universalism appealed to the internationalism 
I had inherited from Marxism” (pp.64-5). Did 
it matter that this freedom and integration 
were to occur within a fully capitalist, white 
supremacist, and hierarchical framework? 
Apparently not. 

"[A] distinctly anti-white attitude 
was emerging in the black 
movement... black people are only 
ten or twelve percent of the Ameri- 
can population. It was vital for the 
civil rights movement to reach out to 
white America if it really wanted to 
realize its goal of equal 
opportunity... Black Power was a 
form of regressive particularism" 
(p.75). Equal opportunity for what? 
To be a wage laborer in an anti-la- 
bor environment? To be an 
owner/manager of a business with 
employees? To become a whole- 
hearted capitalist fully integrated into 
a capitalist economy? What about 
not wanting integration into this kind 
of socio-economic set-up? What 
about not wanting to rely on the 
bigoted assumption that black people aren’t 
mature or intelligent enough to run their own 
lives? What about the principle of self-organi- 
zation? 

Bookchin, like other white snivel rights 
activists from the early '60s, feels betrayed 
by the eventual rejection of his help. When 
black folks decided that helping themselves 
was better than being helped by generous, 
well-meaning (but still patronizing) white 
people who felt guilty because of their privi- 
leges, the white folks felt abandoned. When 
white New Leftists then subordinated them- 
selves to the revolutionary posturing of black 
militants, it was due to the paucity of their 
critical abilities and their guilt about "white, 
skin privilege." It's not up to white people to 
decide when, how, and why black people (or 
any other non-white people) should agitate 
to better their own lives. 

It is true, as Murray contends, that "Black 
Power groups began to say that the white 
man was the enemy" (p.76). Feminist sepa- 
ratists began saying that all men were the 
enemy at about the same time. The identifi- 
cation and categorization of biologically- 
based enemies is an ideological and philo- 
sophical problem of separatism, and as such 
it should be critiqued and challenged. This 
can be done without attacking the principle 
of self-organization which most separatist 
groups adopt (although the hierarchies that 


If only SDS had paid attention to his 
group’s project; if only the Black River 
folks had used his group’s statement... if 
only people would just listen to Murray and 
follow his advice. Nobody likes a whiner, 
and complaints about everybody else are 
no substitute for looking in the mirror. 
Bookchin constantly laments that people 
didn’t (and still won’t) listen to him; maybe 
it’s what he says or maybe it’s the way he 
says it. In any case, his legacy is a string 
of failures. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


17 




Alternative Media Review 


usually appear in them can be critiqued from 
an antiauthoritarian perspective). But to take 
this critique and say that Black Power groups 
are “reactionary” (p.76), while at the same 
time ignoring feminist separatists, is totally 
unprincipled and sounds very much like 
racism. The accusation of racism is very 
serious, and I do not make it lightly, but what 
else can the reader conclude from Murray's 
vitriolic statements that are exclusively direct- 
ed at Black Power ideologues, while radical 
feminist ideologues are let off the hook? * 

Murray the historian, Part I 
or Who cares about facts? 

As anyone who knows me will 
attest, I am obsessed with the Span- 
ish Revolution and Civil War. Murray 
the Historian relates the following: 

"In May 1937 in Barcelona, the work- 
ers had to conquer the Stalinist 
counterrevolution then and there. 

But they delayed, and after four 
days they had to leave the streets to 
obtain food— and they thereby sur- 
rendered whatever advantages they 
had gained" (pp.275-6). Murray the 
Historian completely ignores the 
Stalinist refusal to adhere to cease- 
fire agreements, and the calls of the 
CNT Ministers for anarchists to dis- 
arm themselves (what amounted to 
surrender), among other crucial 
explanatory details. The cenetistas 
(members of the CNT) and faistas (members 
of the FAI), along with their half-hearted allies 
in the POUM, lost the momentum in their 
fight against Stalinist treachery, surrendering 
their barricades to the counterrevolution... 
because they were hungry? ! In all the materi- 
al on Spain that I’ve studied over the last 17 
years, there is no mention of food as an 
issue leading to the anarchist defeat in Bar- 
celona in ‘37. Murray the Historian's inno- 
vative analysis of the May Days is as unique 
as it is utterly ridiculous. 

Pages 241-3 summarize the radical events 
of the beginning of January 1919 in Berlin, 
when, according to Bookchin, “the counter- 
revolution still lacked the effective military 
force it needed to suppress an uprising." 
(How and when he became an expert on 
military affairs is a mystery.) On January 5th, 
about 200,000 armed workers assembled in 
front of the Berlin police headquarters to 
protest the attempted dismissal of the Inde- 
pendent Socialist police president. Murray 
the Historian continues: “they were in a 
belligerent, indeed revolutionary mood. They 
waited expectantly... for their leaders — who 
had called the mobilization— to give them the 
signal to move. None was forthcoming” 
(p.242). But according to Richard M. Watt 
(The Kings Depart; The Tragedy of Germany: 
Versailles and the German Revolution, p.256), 
the leaders of the Independent Socialists, the 


Communist Party, and the Revolutionary 
Shop Stewards "made a momentous deci- 
sion: to call a general strike, to support an 
armed attack upon the government and 'to 
place Germany in the vanguard of the inter- 
national proletarian revolution.’” The coalition 
of the three revolutionary organizations put 
out a manifesto to that effect, and immediate- 
ly set about distributing arms. Murray the 
Historian writes, "The next day... another 
appeal to take to the streets was distributed 
among the workers, and the same numerical- 
ly huge mass of armed workers reappeared, 
once again ready for an uprising. ..but the 
leaders still behaved indecisively. . . By nightfall 


[of the 6th]... the crowd dispersed, never to 
return” (p.243). Watt writes, however, that the 
general strike began on schedule, that 
armed workers succeeded in capturing the 
offices of several newspapers, and by the 
morning of the 7th (12 hours after Murray the 
Historian says they’d dispersed), had taken 
over the Brandenburg Gate, putting riflemen 
in offensive positions across the top of the 
structure. In addition, "The Government 
Printing Office had been seized, as had the 
most important of the railroad stations. The 
revolutionaries took over and fortified the 
huge Boetzow Brewery. The Reichstag build- 
ing was under attack and defended only by 
a scratch force of government bureaucrats" 
(Watt, p.257-8). Doesn’t sound like any kind 
of "dispersed" crowd to me. 

Murray the Historian claims that "many 
historians" consider that "the German Revo- 
lution came to an end on January 6, 1919, 
when the last of the two working-class mobi- 
lizations melted away” (p.243). Who are 
these historians who suppose that a revolu- 
tion can be finished between the decision to 
call a general strike and the time it actually 
begins to make gains? We'll never know; but 
I suspect that, if they actually exist, most (if 
not all) of them are Leninists. Another hither- 
to unknown piece of crucial historical data is 
later uncovered by Murray the Historian: 
"most of [the] members" of the Spartakus- 


bund (Spartacus League) "were actually 
syndicalists and anarchists!” (p.297). Where 
he got this information is anybody’s guess. 
One of the advantages (for demagogues like 
Bookchin) of using an oral history format is 
that the storyteller doesn’t need to be both- 
ered with stupid things like citing sources 
that others can check. 

Murray the historian, Part II 

or Are we democratic centralists yet? 

Bookchin claims that dithering and indeci- 
sion led to the failure of the German Revolu- 
tion, that the armed proletarians of Berlin 
gave up without a fight because of a 
lack of resolute leadership. The fact 
that no other revolutionaries were 
coming to Berlin to reinforce the 
10% of the people that was armed 
and in favor of the general strike 
(Watt suggests a total population of 
a little more than two million), cou- 
pled with the quick mobilization of 
the homicidally counterrevolutionary 
and Social Democrat-sponsored 
Freikorps on the 9th and 1 0th (highly 
mobile and having the advantage of 
superior arms and combat experi- 
ence), adds up to an unwinnable 
military situation. 

But even if it were true that this 
failure was due, as Murray the Histo- 
rian insists, to "the disorganized and 
indecisive revolutionary leaders bick- 
er[ing], delaying], and actfing] late and 
irresolutely" (p.244), one might think that the 
lesson for antiauthoritarians would be that 
workers and others interested in revolution 
should become accustomed to thinking on 
their own and taking bold initiatives instead 
of wasting time waiting for leaders to make 
decisions for them. But no; Murray the Histo- 
rian is also Murray the Leninoid Vanguardist: 
"Those who wish to overthrow this vast 
system will require the most careful strategic 
judgment, the most profound theoretical 
understanding, and the most dedicated and 
persistent organized revolutionary 
groups... They will need nothing less than.. .a 
well-organized and institutionalized endeavor 
led by knowledgeable and resolute people 
who will foment mass resistance and revolu- 
tion, advance a coherent program, and unite 
their groups in a visible and identifiable 
confederation" (p.241). 

From an antihierarchical and anti- 
authoritarian perspective, calling for a well- 
organized movement (militarized with com- 
missars?), a profound theoretical understand- 
ing (generated by the founders?), knowl- 
edgeable and resolute leaders (who can 
create, maintain, and enforce an ideological 
program?), and an institutionalized endeavor 
(a self-perpetuating and self-preserving 
bureaucratic apparatus?) is exceedingly 
suspicious and disturbing, if not unaccept- 


Bookchin is certainly not the first or 
only anarchist to promote an authoritarian 
agenda for anarchists, but his is the most 
recent and most vocal example. Like other 
anarchists who evolved out of leftism, 
Bookchin looks back with wistful nostalgia 
to the good old days of ideological 
certainty and resolute leadership; when 
youngsters had unquestioning respect for 
their elders, and the leaders didn’t tolerate 
independent thought or analysis among the 
rabble of activists. 


18 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Alternative Media Review 


able. Coupled with his critique of irresolute 
leadership (rather than the more traditional 
anarchic critique of leadership itself), the 
analysis of Murray the Historian could just as 
well be the analysis of Murray the Chairman 
of the Central Committee of the Northeastern 
Regional Federation of the American Social 
Ecologist Party (Bolshevik). 

Murray’s platform makes clear that his 
thoughts continue to be filtered through the 
lens of the Marxist-Leninist politics into which 
he was indoctrinated in his youth. Bookchin 
is certainly not the first or only anarchist to 
promote an authoritarian agenda for anar- 
chists, but his is the most recent and most 
vocal example. Like other anarchists who 
evolved out of leftism, Bookchin looks back 
with wistful nostalgia to the good old days of 
ideological certainty and resolute leadership, 
when youngsters had unquestioning respect 
for their elders, and the leaders didn’t toler- 
ate independent thought or analysis among 
the rabble of activists. 

Murray the organizer 
or Authoritarian anarchism 

Throughout the history of anarchism, there 
have been factions of rivalry and intense 
competition concerning its multifarious mani- 
festations. Any search for "the most profound 
theoretical understanding” with the goal of 
creating a "revolutionary libertarian socialist 
movement" (emphasis in original) is a snipe 
hunt, with anarcho-demagogues trying to 
find the elusive unifying set of principles for 
theoretical and philosophical truth, or a 
"coherent program" (p.241). In a real snipe 
hunt the organizers know that the hunt is a 
hoax; but anarcho-unifiers continue to hood- 
wink themselves and the uninitiated, pointing 
their fingers at the followers of every other 
anarcho-tendency, accusing them of wreck- 
ing the non-existent movement. But it is 
exactly this ephemeral search for program- 
matic unity that is sectarian and divisive. 
There has never been a unified anarchist 
movement, and there most likely never will 
be. Some antiauthoritarians think this open- 
ended quality of anarchy is one of the 
strengths of anarchic practice, that a lack of 
enforceable unity is perfectly fine. 

This is not to say that anarchist theory is 
(or should be) a haphazard do-it-yourself 
amalgam of whatever ideas seem best at the 
moment. As Bob Black writes, "The word 
means something, after all, and what it 
means is denial of the necessity and desir- 
ability of government.” (Anarchy After Leftism, 
p. 76) Over the years, there have been anar- 
chists who’ve desired a unitary platform and 
an enormous international (confederation; all 
such attempts have resulted either in acrimo- 
nious splits or dissolution due to lack of 
interest. Some anarchists think this is mourn- 
fully regrettable, while others suspect it is 
inevitable. 


Bookchin is willfully ignoring the lessons of 
(even recent) anarchist history if he thinks 
that the parochial ideology of Social Ecology/ 
Libertarian Municipalism could be the "coher- 
ent program" that will be the principle for any 
kind of anarchist organization. 

Murray the authoritarian anarchist 
or Thus endeth the lesson 

There is, unfortunately, such a thing as 
authoritarian anarchism. It’s easy enough to 
describe it with the shortcut term anarcho- 
leftism. Aside from the Love and Rage 
(R.I.P.) folks, Murray and his pals at the 
Institute for Social Ecology are among its 

Throughout the history of 
anarchism, there have been 
factions of rivalry and intense 
competition concerning its 
multifarious manifestations. Any 
search for “the most profound 
theoretical understanding” with the 
goal of creating a “revolutionary 
libertarian socialist movement” 
(emphasis in original) is a snipe 
hunt, ...Anarcho-unifiers continue to 
hoodwink themselves and the 
uninitiated, pointing their fingers at 
the followers of every other 
anarcho-tendency, accusing them 
of wrecking the non-existent 
movement. But it is exactly this 
ephemeral search for 
programmatic unity that is 
sectarian and divisive. There has 
never been a unified anarchist 
movement, and there most likely 
never will be. Some 
antiauthoritarians think this open- 
ended quality of anarchy is one of 
the strengths of anarchic practice, 
that a lack of enforceable unity is 
perfectly fine. 

most recent public proponents. Altogether, 
they are relatively few, but because they 
correctly sense their decreasing relevance to 
the future of antiauthoritarian thought and 
practice (as anarchs continue to move away 
from the political dead end of leftism), they 
are relentlessly loud and nasty in their de- 
nunciations of non-leftist anarchists. Their 
various projects of resolute, knowledgeable 
leadership and institutionalized organization- 
alism are almost certainly self-defeating. But 
that’s no reason why the rest of us can’t help 
them along. 


Who Killed Ned Ludd?... 
Unionization in America... 
The Refusal of Technology... 



Elements of Refusal is the first collection of 
John Zerzan's writings — and this Second Edition 
of the collection is long overdue. No less than as 
they first appeared, these essays are provocative 
and important. 

Present day "reality,’’ as constituted by those 
with vested interests in maintaining this domina- 
tion, is touted as the “best” possible reality. 
Accordingly, history is shaped like a monstrous 
land-fill to legitimize this hoax. 

Daily life, with its intensifying alienations and 
psychopathology becomes more spectacularand 
bizarre. All is not well in Utopia. We grow more 
dependent on glitter and diversion to fill the void 
where all that is human is gutted. Life is reduced 
to a game. But there is nowhere to play. Every 
technological innovation promising to bring us 
closer together drives us further apart; every 
revolution promises to liberate us from want, but 
leaves us more in need. 


Elements of Refusal spells it all out. Here it is 
axiomatic that art, language, time, industrialism, 
number, technology, work and other aspects of 
our social lives— all hailed as the liberators of 
humanity — are, in fact, the co-conspirators of 
domestication and domination. 


Columbia Alternative Library 

C.A.L. Press/Paleo Editions 

POB 1446, Columbia, MO 65205 
$14.95 + $2.05 p&h = $17.00 total 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


19 






Alternative Media Review 


Anarchist 
press review 

Compiled by Jason McQuinn & Lawrence Jarach 


Anarchy is once again exchanging 
with all other anarchist and genuinely 
radical (anti-state, anti-capitalist) 
periodicals. And we will continue to 
try to review all such periodicals 
received in future issues. All reviews 
in this issue are by Jason McQuinn, 
except those marked / U j for Law- 
rence. Jarach. 

Publishers please note: To ensure 
that your publications are reviewed in 
future issues, send all zines and mag- 
azines to our current reviewer address: 
C.A.L. Press, POB 1446, Columbia, 
MO 65205-1446, USA. 

ANARCHO-SYNDICALIST 
REVIEW: Formerly Libertarian 
Labor Review 

#26/Fall '99 through #28/Spring 
2000 (POB 2824, Champaign, IL 
61825) has a new title, a newly 
glossy cover and a new quarterly 
publishing schedule, but at the 
same time has now been reduced 
to 34-pages. The Fall issue in- 
cludes part two of an interview 
with prominent libertarian socialist, 
Noam Chomsky, in which he un- 
wittingly reveals that he is unfamil- 
iar with Murray Bookchin’s scurri- 
lous attacks on anarchists in re- 
cent years, while he also makes a 
case that he opposes support for 
national liberation movements. The 
Fall issue also includes coverage 
of anarcho-syndicalism in Mexico, 
France and Germany. The Winter 
issue features a "Chomsky Sympo- 
sium," in which ASR editors criti- 
cize Chomsky's more and more 
obvious tendencies toward de- 
fense of social democratic 
reformism. And the Spring issue 
features reprints of articles on the 
Seattle WTO protests (including an 
excerpt from We Dare Be Free and 
Loren Goldner's decent account 
titled "The First U S. Riot against 
'Globalization'!”), along with an 
overview of several "Syndicalist 
Utopias” by Jon Bekken. A maga- 
zine for those who believe there is 
still some life in the ideal of anar- 
chist industrial unions. Subscrip- 
tions have increased to (a still 
quite reasonable) $15/4 issues. 

BARK! 

Voice of Anarcho-Cynicism 

# 1/Spring 2000 (POB 738, New 
York, NY 10025) is a brand new 
12-page zine for "Defacing the 
Currency of Civilization"— in the 
Cynical language of Diogenes of 
Sinope. For such a small package 
in rather small type this zine is full 
of good writing and wide-ranging, 
philosophical thoughts on eco- 
anarchy, agriculture, technology, 
critical theory, ancient Cynical 
philosophy and hunter-gatherer 
peoples, all in one long essay. The 
relatively high quality writing only 


breaks down towards the end of 
the essay, when a moralistic ideal- 
ism begins to creep in with fairly 
wild claims such as one that in the 
“ true Golden Age, the true state of 
nature, which we should take as 
our pattern for utopia,..."’ humanity 
was vegan. (Not only was humani- 
ty not likely vegan, but even if it 
was predominantly vegan, there is 
zero evidence that it would have 
been so on moral grounds, nor 
would it make any sense lor us to 
model our diet on past societies 
for moral reasons.) Still, all in all 
this is an excellent read and will be 
well worth picking up for most 
people. There's no price listed, but 
I'd send $1 for a sample copy; 
subscriptions are $6/year 

DEMOCRACY & NATURE: 
International Journal 
of Inclusive Democracy 

Vol.4,#2-3 [double-issuej/undated 
through Vol. 5, #3/Nov. 99 ( editorial : 
20 Woodberry Way, London N12 
0HG, UK; ordering. Carfax Publish- 
ing, Taylor & Francis Ltd, Cust 
Sen/ices Dept, 47 Runway Rdm 
Suite G, Levittown, PA 19057- 
4700) is a 160-page academic 
journal (formerly Society and Na- 
ture) which seeks to create a radi- 
cal democratic synthesis of tradi- 
tions of socialist (economic), politi- 
cal and ecological democracy, 
placing it on the borderline of an- 
archist theory shared with anti- 
state environmentalist, directly 
democratic and libertarian socialist 
positions. The Vol. 4, #2-3 double- 
issue covers "Irrationalism, Reli- 
gion, Ecology and Democracy.'' 
The November 99 issue on "Wel- 
fare and Democracy," includes the 
publisher's (Takis Fotopoulos) 
essay "Welfare state or Economic 
Democracy?" and essays on as- 
pects of "Ecology and Ethics" by 
Dario Padovan, Serge Latouche 
and Dirk Holemans. Most interest- 
ing for most non-academic anar- 
chists will be the draft version of 
an essay by John Clark (which 
raised Murray Bookchin’s irrational 
ire at a social ecology conference 
a few years ago) titled "The Politics 
of Social Ecology: Beyond the 
Limits of the City." Unfortunately, 
the journal is marred by the 
editor/publisher's insistence on 
getting in the first and last word on 
everything discussed in every is- 


sue. Subscriptions are $58/year or 
£36/year. 







GENTLE SPIRIT 

Vol.6,# 10/undated (POB 246, 
Wauna, WA 98395; web site 
www.gentlespirit.com; e-mail 
GSCustServ@aol.com) is a nice- 
ly-produced, 90-page Christian 
pacifist magazine published by 
anarchists, with an entirely appro- 
priate title. (I say "Christian pacifist 
magazine published by anarchists" 
because there is little evidence 
within the magazine that the editor- 
publishers allow their anarchism to 
show through.) This issue includes 
articles on simple living, organic 
farming, community supported 
agriculture, homestead tips, reci- 
pes, homestead tips, home 
schooling and unschooling artl- 
‘cles, and advice on non-coercive 
parenting. These are all fine things, 
but I would generally expect a little 
more explicit social critique from 
anarchist periodicals of just about 
any kind. The closest thing to cov- 
erage of political or anti-political 
issues is an essay by one of the 
editor-publishers, Cheryl Seelhoff, 
on Gospel-based pacifism and 
non-resistance. In a separate letter, 
Cheryl states that she shares 
Jacques "Ellul’s theory that Jesus 
was an anarchist." I find this mag- 
azine most valuable for its non- 
coercive parenting and unschool- 
ing stances (both of which I 
share). Subscriptions are $22/year 
(11 issues). 

GREEN ANARCHY 

For a Free Society In Harmony 

and Nature 

#1 /Summer 2000 (POB 11331, 


Eugene, OR 97440; e-mail: 
greenanarchy@tao.ca) is the new, 
16-page tabloid, North American 
counterpart to the U.K.'s Green 
Anarchist. Content includes anar- 
chist and ecological protest cover- 
age: April demos in Washington 
DC, the March 16 anti-cop riot in 
Montreal, opposition to the contin- 
uing NYC police shootings, Oslo 
squatters, etc. This first issue also 
features "An Introduction to Primi- 
tive Anarchy" by John Zerzan, an 
unusual (serve-the-people type) 
exhortation titled "Why Aren’t More 
People of Color in the Anarchist 
Movement?" by “New Afrikan anar- 
chist prisoner' 1 Ali Khalid Abdullah 1 , 
and Chaia Heller's call to follow 
Bookchins Libertarian Municipal ist 
ideology in "This is What Democra- 
cy Looks Like: The Revolutionary 
Potential of the Anti-Globalization 
Movement." Sample copies are $2 
($3 in Canada); subscriptions are 
$10/5 issues. 

JE NE SAIS QUOI 

#6/undated (POB 2407, Spring- 
field, IL 62705) is a nicely-pro- 
duced, 12-page local anarchist 
zine for the Springfield, Illinois 
area. This issue includes an inter- 
view with Ron Sakolsky about his 
participation in the DC April 16th 
anti-IMF protests, a review of The 
Golden Book of Springfield. Sam- 
ple copies are available for a 550, 
large-sized SASE or $1 each. 

THE MATCH! 

#94/Summer 99 (POB 3012, Tuc- 
son, A Z 85702) is an irregularly- 
published 64-page anarchist jour- 
nal, lovingly self-printed by always 
cantankerous— but increasingly 
loony— editor/publisher Fred 
Woodworth. The articles in every 
issue focus on the rampant abuses 
heaped upon innocent people by 
authoritarian institutions, especially 
by cops, courts and prisons, along 
with criticisms of the authoritarian 
and labor-increasing effects of 
computer technologies. This issue 
criticizes Tom Tomorrow's "This 
Modern World" comic series (for 
its increasing defense of govern- 
ment institutions), mainstream 
newspaper hypocrisy concerning 
free speech and press freedom, 
media complicity with the so-called 
"war on [illegal] drugs," and the 
continuing record of police execu- 
tions and beatings of generally 
innocent people (not that those 
'"guilty" in the eyes of the state de- 
serve such treatment), as well as 
some of Noam Chomsky's state- 
ments supporting the use of gov- 
ernment against corporations. Paul 
Roasberry contributes an interest- 
ing, critical account of the Colum- 
bine High School shootings titled 


20 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Alternative Media Review 


"Living in Littleton: Columbine, 
Christians and Cops," while Iris 
Lane tries to explain why she has 
been (somewhat guiltily) "Listening 
to Limbaugh" — but now is begin- 
ning to understand what sort of 
demagogic propagandist creep he 
really is (though her alternative is 
to recommend listening to ex-CIA 
scumbag G. Gordon Liddy!). Every 
issue also includes a ritual denun- 
ciation of Anarchy magazine for 
imaginary, often ludicrous crimes 
Subscriptions are now free; dona- 
tions are requested. 


Non-English-language 
materials received 

CENTRE INTERNATIONAL 
DE RECHERCHES SUR 
L'ANARCHISME BULLETIN 

#56/Fev. 2000 (Bibliotheque du 
C.I.R.A., avenue de Beaumont 24, 
CH-1012 Lausanne, Switzerland) is 
a 26-page catalog of periodicals 
and new book acquisitions by the 
CIRA archive in various languages, 
predominantly French and Span- 
ish. This issue includes a bibliogra- 
phy of works by the late Arthur 
Lehning (a former AIT secretary 
and translator of six volumes of 


Mikhail Bakunin's collected works, 
who died last year at the age of 
100). Subscriptions are 10 FF/year. 

CNT: 

Organ of the National 
Condederation of Labor 

#259/June 2000 (Box 4040, 18080 
Granada, Spain) Articles on lots of 
May First activities, including a 
congress in Almeria that brought 
together mostly ignored immigrant 
workers, a demo against a military 
exhibition in Barcelona, an analysis 
of the recent student strike in Mex- 
ico City, an interview with a couple 
of libertarian educators, a trans- 
lation of "The People’s Flag is 
Deepest Black” from Black Flag, 
and an editorial about armed 
struggle in Latin America. In Span- 
ish. 200 pesetas. [LJ] 

DIAVOLO IN CORPO: 

Rivista Di Critica Sociale 

No.2/May 2000 (Maria Grazia 
Scoppetta, C.P 1301, 10100 

Torino, Italy) Smaller by only a few 
pages from the first issue, number 
two is jammed with articles like 
"The Legend of the Jubilee" sur- 
rounding Johann Most's famous 


“The Pestilence of Religion,” "The 
Cruel Jaws of Habit; Enigma, 
Knowledge and Revolt," "The Ex- 
periments of Science,” a transla- 
tion of William Morris' “Era of Sub- 
stitution" and John Zerzan s “That 
Thing We Do,” rounded off with an 
article on Dada and celebration of 
anarchist bomber Emile Henry’s 
poetry. Again, plenty of unattri- 
buted graphics lifted from this 
magazine. Published in Italian. 
6000 lire. [LJ] 

EKINTZA ZUZENA 

No.27/Summer 2000 (Ediciones 
E.Z., Apdo. 235, 48080 Bilbao, 
Bizkaia/Spain) An article called 
"Basque Disobedience; Civil Dis- 
obedience as a Strategy of Nation- 
al Liberation" is the second lon- 
gest essay in this issue. Also in- 
cluded are articles on Seattle, 
organic farming land occupation 
near Madrid, the support of the 
Franco regime for the Nazis, and a 
translation of a pamphlet from 
England called "Reflections on 
June 18. Contributions on the 
politics behind the events that 
occurred in the City of London on 
June 18, 1999” which is highly 


critical of street activism. Plus lots 
of music and zine reviews. In 
Spanish and Euskara (Basque). 
400 pesetas. Subscriptions in the 
US are $20.00. [U] 

SOLI DARI DAD OBRERA: 

Organ of the Regional 
Confederation of Labor in 
Catalonia 

No. 303/June 2000 (Hospital 101, 
08001 Barcelona, Spain) Reports 
on May First demos, anti-torture 
activities, the land occupation out- 
side Madrid, imprisoned Greek 
anarchists on hunger strike, South 
American labor action. With a back 
page on Catalonian cultural issues. 
In Spanish and Catalan. 100 pe- 
setas. [LJ] 

SOCIAL HARMONY 

# 20/Spring 2000 (POB 76148, T.K. 
17110 Nea Smyrni Athens, 
Greece) is an sober-looking (no 
photos or illustrations) 8-page, 
Greek-language periodical includ- 
ing in this issue a translation from 
Petr Kropotkin's Act for Yourselves 
titled “Are We Good Enough?" 
Send a contribution for a sample 
copy. 


A small selection of anarchist/alternative Web sites 

Compiled by Alex Trotter 


I can t make any pretense to putting together 
a comprehensive list that would cover every 
thing of interest to anarchists and their triends. 
These sites all have their own lists ol linked sites, 
so the adventure of exploration is yours, if you feel 
that the Internet/WWW has any value (and not all 
anarchists do). From time to time I’ll add sites to 
this list, or correct addresses that have changed or 



Spunk Press Anarchist Archives 

www.spunk.org 

"USENET groups and mailing lists of interest to 
anarchists" 

flag.blackened.net/liberty/lists.html 

Blackout Books (New York City) 

www.panix.com/~blackout/index.html 

Mid-Atlantic Infoshop (anarchist librarians, pirate 
radio, and much more) 

burn.ucsd.edu/~mai 

Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade 

world.std.com/~bbrigade 

Max Stirner- related material 

pierce.ee.washington.edu/~davisd/egoist/stirner 

Zerowork 

www.whywork.org/about/links.html 


AUTOPSY (autonomist and ultraleft Marxism) 

lists.village.virginia.eduf’spoons/authtml 

GreenNet 

www.gn.apc.org 

Situationist archive 

www.nothingness.org/SI/index.html 

The Daily Bleed (sinners and saints galore) 

www.eskimo.com/~recall/bleed/calmast.htm 

Emperor Norton 

www.notfrisco.com/nortoniana 

Victor Serge 

users.skynet.be/johneden 

Cornelius Castoriadis 

aleph.lib.ohio-state.edu/~bcase/castoriadis/in 

dex2.html 

Wilhelm Reich 

www.orgone.org 

Society for Human Sexuality 

www.sexuality.org 

Surrealist writers 

www.creative.net/~alang/lit/surreal/writers.sht 


Dada movement 

www.mital-u.ch/Dada/ 

New Social & Cultural Movements 

www.lancs.ac.uk/users/csec/shiftingground/ 

Communitas (news around the world) 

www.ecn.org/communitas/ 

The Post-Technology Project 

redrival.com/ptech/ 

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus (erotic fire shows, sword 
swallowers, bug eaters, etc.) 

www.bindlestiff.org/ 

Witches, wiccans and pagans 

www.witchvox.com 

Geostrategic and intelligence (spook) stuff 

www.stratfor.com; www.siri-us.com 

Independent Media Center (WTO-related material) 

206.168.174.21 

Cypherpunks home page 

ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/cypherpunks/ 

Home.html 

List of anonymous remailers 

www.cs.berkeley.edu/~raph/remailer-list.html 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


21 





International Anarchist News 


International Anarchist News 


Montreal Anarchist Demo Suppressed 
with 157 Arrests on May Day 



Mayday demonstrators belore the arrests. 



View from the lookout point where the bus let off the protesters. 


by Michael William 

I n the past, Montreal’s May 1 has been an 
at times interesting but usually pretty 
boring day. Typically the unions hold a 
march that is followed by an event in a hall. 
Anarchists at the demo are relegated to the 
rear and are expected not to act up. One 
May 1st I saw an anarchist who was walking 
in the wrong part of the cortege have his 
black flag yanked away by a security goon 
who threw it to the ground. 

At a Mayday demo in the early ’80s the 
anarchists made a minor sensation when 
they left their place in the procession and ran 
alongside it with large black flags flapping, 
coming finally to a halt in a park. The next 
day a front-page article on anarchism ap- 
peared in a Montreal daily. Pieces on anar- 
chists can be nasty, nice or “neutral" de- 
pending on the moods of journalists and 
editors and the degree of anarchist scare at 
the moment. 

On Mayday 1999 a demo in support of 
legalizing pot took place, much to the cha- 
grin of some radicals who fumed at this 
neo-hippy recuperation of May 1 . So it co- 
mes as no surprise that this year not one but 
three demos took place: the usual union 
one, a Reclaim the Streets demo, and a 
specifically anarchist one. I didn’t know quite 
where I stood with respect to this profusion 
of demos. I have been to a number of May- 
day demos but my presence at these things 
is by no means automatic. I ultimately wound 
up sick this time, so choosing became un- 
necessary. 

Hide and seek in Westmount 

The specifically anarchist demo was an- 
nounced with several different posters and 
flyers. Most were signed "des libertaires" (the 
French word libertaire doesn't have the 
right-wing connotation it sometimes has in 
English). From the tone of the posters the 
organizers seemed to be coming from the 
libertarian-communist milieu, which indeed 
turned out to be the case. 

The demo rally point was a downtown 
subway station. Nearby, four yellow school 
buses stood parked. Gradually about 200 
demonstrators showed up, some wearing 
masks or carrying flags. Cops were much in 
evidence — to the tune of two dozen police 
vehicles. 

People were asked to board the buses. 
The buses pulled away. An organizer on 
each of the buses announced that the desti- 
nation was Quebec’s richest neighbourhood, 


Westmount. Westmount is located on the 
flank of Mount Royal, a big hill adjacent to 
downtown Montreal. The organizers stated 
that it would be unwise to attempt illegal 
activities because of the large police pres- 
ence and the unfamiliarity of the terrain to 
most protestors. 

The buses wound up the side of Mount 
Royal and into Westmopnt. Some of the 
demonstrators yelled out comments or in- 
sults to the rare locals on the streets. The 
buses were preceded and followed by a 
heavy contingent of cops on motorcycles 
and other vehicles. 

The buses arrived at a lookout point 
perched at the top of Westmount. The dem- 
onstrators disembarked and the buses de- 
parted. People took in the panoramic view of 
the downtown core and the Saint Lawrence 
River just behind it. A couple of small moun- 
tains were visible in the distance. For several 
minutes people milled around. An organizer 
with a megaphone then suggested the demo 
get underway. The road in the direction he 
wished to go, though, was suddenly blocked 
by a line of riot cops. People attempted to 
go in the opposite direction. But the road 
that way was blocked by another line of 
cops. 

A feeling of panic took hold as people 
realized they were hemmed in. The only 


escape route seemed to be down some 
stairs and down a winding path to a street 
below in Upper Westmount, the neighbour- 
hood's poshest part. Some of the demon- 
strators followed the path while others 
scrambled down more directly through the 
bushes and undergrowth. Following the 
descent, people regrouped on the street. At 
this point several graffiti— circle @s or 
anti-bourgeois slogans— were spray- painted. 

Chanting slogans, the demonstrators 
headed down the street. However, several 
blocks into the march a line of cops material- 
ized ahead of the protestors. People moved 
in the opposite direction but again the cops 
were coming from that way too. Some dem- 
onstrators attempted to cut through a back 
yard. Escape was made unlikely though by 
a long drop to the street on the other side of 
the back wall. Cops were also already visible 
below. Sixty people remained crammed into 
a small space in the back yard and the rest 
of the demonstrators were encircled by cops 
on the street out in front. The cops allowed 
no one to leave. 

People were forced to cool their heels in 
the cold drizzle for several hours until they 
were processed (photographed), put into 
cramped paddy wagons, and taken to the 
copshop. 157 arrests took place, meaning 
that about a quarter of the demonstrators got 


away. One person was severely injured trying 
to escape and another had a gun drawn on 
him by a cop. One person hid for several 
hours in a park and managed to avoid cops 
who were scouring the area. 

In the cells the mood was generally up- 
beat as people chatted, relaxed or slept. 
Although most of the arrested were let out 
within hours, ten were kept longer and were 
arraigned the next day. It was claimed that 
the ten had been singled out because of 
their previous judicial records. 

The cops meanwhile were putting forth 
their version of why the arrests had taken 
place. The demonstrators had been unwilling 
to collaborate with the police, a police com- 
mander told a local daily. Further justifica- 
tions were contained in the official police 
report. These included the handful of graffiti 
and what the cops described as the "aggres- 
sive attitude of the demonstrators." The 


report also states that a motorcycle cop was 
attacked by one of the demonstrators. Ac- 
cording to an eyewitness, one person did 
charge toward a cop on a stationary motor- 
cycle. The bike was knocked over but the 
cop didn’t go down. In the police report the 
incident is blown out of proportion, and in 
any case the person in question, by all 
accounts very drunk, was straggling well 
behind the main body of protestors: his 
gesture hardly constitutes an excuse for 
arresting everyone present. 

Following the arrests, participants were 
able to put together a list of telephone num- 
bers of those who had been detained. 

Since then several defendants meetings 
have taken place. Most of the defendants 
have decided to undertake a collective de- 
fence. Several benefits have also been held, 
bringing in over $1,000.00 towards legal 
expenses. 


The media 

Unsurprisingly, the media primarily parrot- 
ed the police version of events. A radio news 
report on state-run Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation (CBC) on the morning after the 
demo even talked of a "riot" having oc- 
curred. But on May 3 the tone of the media 
noticeably changed. This was due to uproar 
over the arrests of several media people 
during the demo. (Now that their ox was 
getting gored the media had snapped 
awake). The journalists and photographers 
said that they were arrested in spite of hav- 
ing identified themselves as media people. 
And a local daily published a photo of one of 
the journalists glumly flashing his press pass 
through a cordon of helmeted cops. 
Quebec’s federation of professional journal- 
ists also got into the act, issuing a statement 
which demanded that the police conduct an 


. Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


22 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


23 






International Anarchist News 



enquiry and apologize to the arrested jour- 
nalists and photographers. Eventually the 
charges against a journalist and a photogra- 
pher were dropped. The charges against the 
other photographers— and of course the 
demonstrators— would remain. 


The Mayday demo and the arrests have 
contributed to an ongoing debate about 
goals and tactics. Some anarchists avoided 
the demo or felt it was poorly organized 
while others thought it worthwhile despite the 
problems. My own hesitations are concerned 
less with tactics than other issues. The Mon- 
treal demo was a response to a call on the 
Internet for radical anti -authoritarian actions 
on Mayday. But to what extent do we need 
to be reacting to calls on the Internet to 
begin with? Surely there are more spontane- 
ous and organic ways of going about things. 
Must we all herd off in the same direction 
simply because someone puts up a text on 
a website or sends out some e-mails? 

As well, Mayday remains mainly the do- 
main of the left, an event steeped in a 
Guevara-like mist of myth. Union bureau- 
crats, leftist groupuscules, social democrats, 
neo-Stalinists: each faction has its spin on 
why May 1 represents the aspirations of its 
gang. Some of course will say that the point 
is to organize specifically anarchist demos or 
anarchist contingents in existing events. But 
in this case why May 1? Anarchist demos 
can be held 365 days of the year, most of 
which are free of the baggage associated 
with Mayday. 

And although Westmount is a legitimate 
target, calling a symbolic demo in 
Westmount is easier than the more daunting 
task of tracing modern domination's meta- 
morphosis. In today's world of cybernetics 
and gene-splitting, domination has become 
more diffuse: a computer program living in a 
condo is as much a part of the 
megamachine as the classic industrialist 
living in Westmount. 


State television does a number 
on the anarchists 


The Westmount demo had an additional 
rebound when it was used as the starting 
point for a special program on anarchism 
and violence on the French-language chan- 
nel of the CBC. Much of the interviewing for 
the program took place at the Montreal 
Anarchist Bookfair which occurred six days 
after the Mayday arrests. Some of the people 
who were asked questions thought they were 
being interviewed about the book fair or 
about the radical milieu in a more general 
sense — until it became clear that questions 
were being single-mindedly directed toward 
the subject of violence. The people behind 
the program also had another card up their 


sleeve. Instead of enlisting profs, politicians 
or police chiefs to denounce the anarchists, 
the producers interviewed two high-profile 
ideologues of non-violence who have a 
history of denouncing revolutionary insurrec- 
tionists. 

The program begins with shots of chanting 
demonstrators at the Westmount demo. A 
demonstrator is shown being arrested and 
then coming out of the back of a paddy 
wagon. The voice-over presents him as one 
of the "leaders" of the Montreal anarchists. 
He is then shown being interviewed at the 
book fair about the reasons for the 
Westmount demo. 

The program then shifts to another activist 
and to the March 15, 2000 anti-police brutali- 
ty demo at which a copshop, a bank and 
three McDonald's had their windows 
smashed. The activist is inaccurately identi- 
fied as a member of the anti-police-brutality 
group which organized the demo. Shots are 
shown of people attacking a McDonald's as 
the voice-over deplores the "vandalism com- 
mitted by some demonstrators." But despite 
the heavy spin, some will no doubt reach 
their own conclusions about these dramatic 
shots; the "spectacle" at times escapes 
those who manufacture it. The inaccurately 
identified activist is then interviewed along 
with another person. Asked whether violence 
can be a useful tool, the activist says that the 
issue is more one of self-defence. The other 
person interviewed then makes a distinction 
between property destruction and violence 
against individuals. 

These, however, can be slippery distinc- 
tions. In the words of the author of an article 
in Willful Disobedience that deals precisely 
with this issue, “We have no reason to try to 


One Mayday demonstrator being arrested. 

make such artificial distinctions, since our 
actions are defined precisely by our desire to 
attack and destroy power. These distinctions 
between 'violence' and 'nonviolence' or be- 
tween 'legitimate self-defence’ and the vio- 
lence of attack are based on the hypocritical 
morality of power that serves no other pur- 
pose than to place weighted chains on our 
ability to act." 

Next in the program come the interviews 
with the pacifists. First up is Philippe 
Duhamel, probably Montreal's best known 
proponent of non-violent civil disobedience. 
In an interview Duhamel has referred to the 
Seattle window smashers as "small groups 
of provocateurs" whom he insinuated else- 
where were paid by the police. He is also 
one of four signers of a text which trashes 
the Seattle window-smashers. The text was 
sent out on the Internet and was published in 
the Canadian anarchist journal Kick it Over. 
The initiator of the document, Scott 
Weinstein, worked in Montreal anarchist 
projects during the 70s but stopped calling 
himself an anarchist many years ago. 
Weinstein has also penned a text which 
upbraids the Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist 
Bloc which was at the April 2000 Washington 
demo. Among other complaints he objected 
to the Bloc organizers' statement that "one 
nation-state is as bad as any other 
nation-state” and that all of them should be 
abolished. The U.S. is “far more evil,” opines 
Weinstein, than, say, Cuba! More recently he 
was quoted as saying that the use of pepper 
spray should be replaced with "good police 
work.” This former anarchist clearly has no 
problem with the cops as such. In another 
interview he states that today’s protest 
groups are specifically non-violent. When 


24 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


FallAMnter 2000-2001 


International Anarchist News 



Cover of a local Montreal zine, Le Poing D' Exclamation, 
following the arrests. 

he’s not trashing non-pacifists, he pretends 
we don't exist. 

But back to the program’s interview with 
Duhamel. "There are certain sectors which 
advocate violence” he states, and "for a lot 
of groups that causes a problem." Violence 
will frighten and alienate people, he says. 

Duhamel in other words feels that 
non-pacifists are a threat to him and his 
plans and must thus be discredited and 
destroyed. In Seattle, though, it was people 
doing CD who triggered the cops' over- 
reaction, not the later window-smashing. 

Those not participating in the CD could thus 
complain in a similar manner that it was the 
actions of the non-violent CD people which 
triggered police repression against them. 

Next the program presents shots of people 
being arrested during a Montreal CD action 
while Duhamel shouts instructions to the 
troops. The narrator states in an approving 
tone that the militants of Duhamel 's organiza- 
tion are pacifists. The desired contrast is thus 
obtained between the CD people (good) and 
the violent anarchists (bad). 

Next another well-known non-violent activ- 
ist, Yves Manseau, is interviewed. Like 
Duhamel, Manseau pulls no punches. What 
he terms infiltrators have committed "gratu- 
itous violence" at demos he was involved in 
organizing, he* says, and his right to 
self-expression was taken away as a result, 
though why this was the case remains un- 
clear. 


Duhamel then gets the 
final word. Non-violent 
actions reduce repression, 
he says, and violent ones 
do the opposite. He then 
accuses non-pacifists of 
trying to turn the state into 
as much of a police state 
as possible. Non-violent 
groups such as his will be 
negatively affected as a 
result, he repeats. 

There is little evidence, 
however, that local groups 
advocate a policy of court- 
ing repression. This is just 
more misrepresentation on 
Duhamel's part. On the 
other hand repression will 
no doubt accompany resis- 
tance which truly threatens 
the state — which set-piece 
CD actions do not; they 
may cause temporary dis- 
ruption but are otherwise 
easily contained and neu- 
tralized. But if Duhamel is 
not a threat to the powers 
that be, his popular-front- 
ing with the mainstream 
media is a threat to insur- 
rectionists and other radi- 
cals. 

Not content with verbal attacks, Operation 
Sal AM I (Duhamel’s group) also wishes to 
neutralize sundry uncontrollables on the 
ground. The organization has distributed a 
flyer about the Free Trade Agreement of the 
Americas Summit which will take place in 
Quebec City in April 2001 . The flyer contains 
the following statement: "To build participato- 
ry democracy we need trust, we need assur- 
ances that nobody— simply because he/she 


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‘feels like it’ or wants to ‘show us the way’— 
will take it upon themselves to hurt other 
people or put our lives at risk through some 
irresponsible act of destruction or violence." 

Much could be said about this convoluted 
sentence. In an Orwellian manner, "participa- 
tory democracy" is invoked to deny the 
participation of those the organization does- 
n’t agree with. For SalAMI the desires of 
actually existing individuals are subordinated 
to abstractions and moralism. However, there 
is no need for us to either glorify or 
demonize violence. Violence is simply one 
possibility, a possibility which cannot be 
simply ruled out. Without an uprising in July 
1936— certainly a violent act— the Spanish 
Revolution (incomplete as it was) would not 
have taken place. 

The SalAMI worldview is one which leaves 
us defenceless. Cops can club people over 
the head but protecting oneself is ruled out 
because it would be “hurting other people" 
if a cop happened to get injured. 

Anarchists and the media 

In Montreal the TV program has added to 
a continuing discussion about whether anar- 
chists should collaborate with the main- 
stream media or the corporate-controlled 
"alternative media." It is a debate which is 
not limited to Montreal. In the U.S. John 
Zerzan has been able to reach thousands (in 
edited form) through interviews on the elec- 
tronic media or in high-profile dailies such as 
the New York Times. It can be argued that in 
this way he has gotten basic anti-civilization 
ideas out to many who would otherwise be 
unaware of them. 

In an article in a new journal called Killing 
King Abacus, on the other hand, it is advo- 
cated that we shun the media which is char- 
acterized in the following manner: "It is the 
creator of images for consumption. It creates 
celebrities and personalities for people to 
look up to and vicariously live through. It 
creates role images for people to imitate in 
order to invent their ‘identity.’ It creates imag- 
es of events separated from and placed 
above life. It is through these images, ingest- 
ed uncritically, that people are to view and 
interpret the world, formulating their opinions 
out of this virtual unreality. To the extent that 
the media succeeds, the result is a passive, 
predictable population consuming the trash 
dished out by the social order." 

According to the article, "If we take 
self-determination and self-activity as funda- 
mental bases for anarchist practice, the way 
to communicate our ideas is clearly to create 
our own means of communication. Graffiti, 
posters, communiques, papers, magazines 
and pirate radio can all be used to express 
anarchist ideas without putting them through 
the masticating mechanisms of the media." 

In my own case, I don't collaborate with 
the mainstream media, but am less harshly 
critical of those that do than some. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


25 





International Anarchist News 


Irish eyewitness report 

on the S 26 demonstration in Prague 


This is a personal report on the demonstra- 
tions in Prague to shut down the IMF/World 
Bank on September 26, 2000 by a member of 
the Workers Solidarity Movement who 
marched near the front of the anarchist (blue) 
section of the demonstration. 

I he demonstration formed up around 

B 2km from the Congress Centre in a 
square in central Prague. A meeting at the 
Convergence Centre (a large industrial space 
in the suburbs) of some 3,000 people had 
taken place the afternoon before to discuss 
the plan to blockade the Congress. The 
Czech organisers of the demonstration 
(INPEG) had decided to allow the delegates 
into the conference centre and then block- 
ade it in order to prevent them leaving and 
attending a special Opera that evening. 

However at this meeting it became appar- 
ent that no plan had been made to shut 
down the metro station that would be inside 
the police cordon. It was very obvious that 
this was how the delegates would be 
brought in and out (and indeed the media 
has reported that they were brought out this 
way). The planned blockade would obviously 
be ineffective but the INPEG response to 
questions about the metro was to say that 
we couldn’t shut this down as the ordinary 
citizens needed to get around. 

This led to a meeting of anarchists that 
evening beside the blue block meeting. We 
decided that we would head up the blue 
block and rather than stopping at our ap- 
pointed blockade point (which would have 
left us in a vulnerable position between cliffs 
and a river), we would march as close as we 
could get to the Congress Centre and then 
attempt to non-violently push through the 
police lines. Napoleon said a battle plan 
never survives first contact with the enemy, 
as we shall see below. 

Heading up the yellow block would be the 
Italian group, Ya Basta, which had been de- 
layed 24 hours on the border as the police 
tried to stop four of them coming in because 
they were on a (FBI) list of people who had 
attended the Seattle demonstration. In soli- 
darity the 1 ,000 people with them said either 
we all get in or we all stay here and proceed- 
ed to build barricades on the train lines.... 

Like the anarchist block, the Italians also 
intended to try and push through the police 
lines. They had come prepared with 30 or so 
suits of padded "armor" and helmets that 
those in the front would wear to ward off 
police blows. 


There were three major color blocks, blue, 
yellow and pink each assigned to block the 
access points at different areas around the 
conference centre. The centre itself stood at 
the top of a steep hill overlooking the city 
and was unapproachable from most angles 
due to cliffs. In addition we knew we faced 
1 1 ,000 police with riot equipment, dogs, stun 
grenades, tear gas and water cannon. 

Both yellow and blue were headed up by 
groups which had stated their intention to 
push through the police lines. Pink, which 
had the longest march but much easier 
access to the centre, seemed to include the 
pacifists and the bulk of the Leninist parties.. 

As we gathered in the square it was obvi- 
ous that the hoped for 20,000 plus protesters 
would not materialise, however we probably 
had over 12,000. (In this account I’ve tried 
hard to give accurate figures. I've seen one 
mainstream media report of 15,000 and 
others as low as 5,000.) The march would be 
headed by pink, followed by yellow and then 
blue. As we reached the first point the march 
would continue and blue would split off and 
head for the area of the conference centre 
beside the river. Later the same tactic would 
see yellow split from the back and take a 
second route to the centre leaving pink to 
continue on to encircle the rear of the centre. 

The seige begins 

I had chosen to march with the anarchist 
block that headed up (and indeed comprised 
the majority of) the blue march. The front of 
this was taken up by Czech anarchists fol- 
lowed by anarchists from the other Eastern 
European countries numbering perhaps a 
thousand in all. Holding the banners down 
one side of the march and taking position 
behind the eastern Europeans were anar- 
chists from all the western European coun- 
tries and a large number of autonomen from 
Germany. This anarchist block probably 
numbered at least 3,000 but we may have 
had as many as 5,000. An exact estimate is 
difficult as from the front I could never see 
the back of the block and counting numbers 
in such a tightly packed formation is difficult. 
There were also large numbers behind the 
anarchist block and, of course, at least a 
thousand anarchists who choose to march 
with their affinity groups in other sections of 
the march. This last number could be larger 
and is based on the number of anarchist 
flags, badges and other identifying clothes I 
saw in the other sections. 

At the head of the blue section we were to 


march in tightly packed rows with our arms 
linked and banners stretched across the front 
and down the sides of the march. The major- 
ity of those on the march wore masks to 
protect their identity and offer some limited 
protection from tear gas. Those at the front 
also worse construction helmets and many 
had gas masks. Six or seven rows back a 
medical team marched also equipped with 
gas masks and helmets as we didn’t expect 
the police would respect the prominent red 
crosses marked on their bags and satchels. 

I had chosen not to wear a mask and to 
speak to any press looking for interviews 
about why we marching today— making it 
clear it was only my view as we had no 
agreed press spokespeople. I had spoken at 
the counter summit over the weekend so this 
seemed like the most useful contribution that 
could be made to the debate. This also 
means I can report on events with more 
safety than the more active participants. 

On that day the WSM and other anarchist 
groups were also distributing 5,000 copies of 
an international anarchist statement from a 
number of anarchist groups around the 
world. It explained why we were taking part 
in and supporting the Prague action, and 
what alternative we had. The full text of this 
statement which was distributed in a four lan- 
guage leaflet (including Czech) can be found 
at: http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/inter/ 
s 26 .html 

One side note worth mentioning is that 
many of the Leninist parties had chosen to 
come to Prague with red flags emblazoned 
with hammer and sickles. The Czech media 
on the day of the protest had been sure to 
include front page pictures of them as these 
flags— associated with the Soviet occupation 
and the old regime — are hardly popular. As 
the yellow block formed up in front of us the 
Eastern European anarchists greeted each of 
these banners with a chant that obviously 
translated as "Bolshevism is Fascism!" I 
didn’t join in as apart from the difficulty of 
chanting in a language you don’t know. I 
don't feel the equation is accurate even if in 
the context of Eastern Europe it’s an under- 
standable reaction. 

As the march set off our block chanted a 
huge range of slogans, many of them in 
Czech but some also in French, English and 
Spanish. The most popular included "Inter- 
national Solidarity,” "Smash, Smash, Smash 
the IMF!" and "No Pasaran!" It was quite a 
feeling being part of this massive block of 
anarchists with people from every corner of 
Europe and beyond marching towards what 


* 


26 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2&01 


International Anarchist News 



The Italian Ya Basta group (in white) confronts the police barricade on a bridge. 


we knew would be a hard confrontation with 
the police. 

The tactic of the march splitting off from 
the back worked beautifully, catching the 
police and media— who were clustered at the 
front of the march— by surprise. From here to 
the centre we were unaccompanied by both 
and we wound our way down into the valley 
below the conference centre. Once the 
march split up we jogged for a while and 
then, in order to avoid breaking our forma- 
tion, slowed to a fast march trying to get as 
close to the IMF as we could before the 
police could react. In particular we were 
concerned that they could trap us at the 
bottom of the valley where we needed to 
take a tunnel under a railway line. 

In the event, though, the police failed to 
react and we got closer and closer to the 
IMF building. Finally we stood at the bottom 
of a steep hill sloping up to the centre, 300 
metres away at the top we could see riot 
police behind a fence. On the right a four 
story building stood on the street, on the left 
a park opened up in a funnel shape with the 
wide end being at the top of the hill. We 
advanced rapidly up the hill and then 
stopped about 30 metres from the waiting 
police line. Here we waited for a minute to 
allow everyone to form up and remove the 
banners at the side of the march. At this 
point the non-combatants (including myself) 
moved into the park. Then the front charged. 

The battle in the park 

For the next couple of minutes row after 
row hurled themselves against the riot 
shields, before moving to the side as the 
next row flung themselves forward. The 
shield wall started to buckle and then break 
and demonstrators started breaking though 
to the crest of the hill, perhaps less then 
100m from the centre. The police brought up 
a water cannon and the first hail of stun gre- 
nades detonated amongst the front rows. 
Then the police baton charged forcing those 
who had scaled the fence to hastily retreat 
lest they be trapped. 

As the baton charge reached the fence it 
was driven back by a hail of cobblestones 
and by demonstrators armed with sticks and 
protected with helmets. More demonstrators 
charging through the park itself began to 
scale the wall at the end nearest the Con- 
gress or to try and force down the doors in 
the wall. Other observers indicated that at 
least some of them succeeded in this and 
got within 50 metres of the IMF before being 
driven back by riot police. 

Meanwhile at the top of the hill a furious 
battle was being waged by the anarchists. 
The police were now firing round after round 
of tear-gas-filled stun grenades into the 
massed ranks below them. The water can- 
non continually hosed from left to right 
against the front rows. From the park above 


the road I could see someone holding a 
massive anarchist flag in the centre of the 
row, soaked and deep in tear gas, but refus- 
ing to be driven back. A second massive 
charge began, again driving the police back 
before being again driven back as the police 
brought up two armored personnel carriers 
and counter- charged. Half a dozen or so 
molotov cocktails were hurled into the police 
lines which brought them to a halt but had 
little other effect as they were obviously 
wearing flame proof suits. 

A stalemate developed along the fence 
with the police driven back whenever they 
tried to cross it by stick-wielding demonstra- 
tors and hails of the now plentiful cobble- 
stones. Volley after volley of stun grenades 
and tear gas rained down, the noise appar- 
ently interrupting the speeches inside the 
hall. As the battle raged across the fence 
more and more demonstrators were coming 
to the rear injured or suffering the effects of 
the tear gas. In the front lines demonstrators 
could be seen wearing captured police riot 
helmets and wielding captured shields and 
batons. 

Meanwhile somewhere above us the front 
of the yellow march had reached the police 
lines. The Italian Ya Basta! collectives which 
headed the yellow march had come pre- 
pared to push through the police lines with 
body armor. There are plenty of reports 
elsewhere about this. The other real attempt 
to penetrate the police line was carried out 
by the pink and silver march which, although 
weak in numbers, did manage to catch the 
police by surprise and break through on at 


least one occasion. The pink march which 
was the first out of the square doesn't seem 
to have made any effort to break through- 
most of the Leninist groups were in this 
sector, presumably because they hoped to 
get their banners on the media by being in 
the first section to march. This section was 
probably under strength as the Leninist 
International Socialists had lied about the 
number of people they were bringing at the 
planning meetings. They put themselves 
down as contributing 2,500 to the pink sec- 
tion but in fact had about 1,000 on the day, 
which may have contributed to the need for 
blue to send re-enforcements. 

The top of the hill in blue section settled 
into a furious stalemate. Some protesters 
tried to find their way to flank the narrow riot 
police front by going through thickly planted 
pine trees that ran from it up along the wall 
of the park. They were driven out as volleys 
of stun grenades and tear gas were fired into 
the trees at point blank range. However it 
appears that further up in the park a group 
of about 100 succeeded in breaking down a 
door in the wall and making the first penetra- 
tion to within 50 metres of the centre before 
being driven back by riot police with dogs. 

On the left the frontal assault on police 
lines was still going on, but making no prog- 
ress because of the water cannon. More and 
more people were streaming back with 
injuries. A gap opened up between the lines 
of riot police and the demonstrators as they 
tried to stay just out of water cannon range, 
occasionally dashing in to let fly with a volley 
of cobbles or with paint bombs at the wind- 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


27 


Photo: Devin Asch 






International Anarchist News 



Tear gas envelopes demonstrators. 


screen of the water cannon in an attempt to 
blind it. 

The riot police moved into this gap and 
the water cannon inched forward behind 
them, opening up a gap into which more of 
the riot police poured. Eventually enough 
had come through for them to attempt their 
first mass charge of the day against the 
people in the park (who were in any case 
mostly watching rather then participating). As 
this was expected most people made a hasty 
retreat to the back of the park and then a 
rather dangerous scramble down a steep 
wooded slope. The method being to try and 
use the tree below you to arrest your decent 
without colliding with the person who had 
just likewise bounced off it. 

At this point I returned to the intersection 
at the bottom of the valley to observe that a 
couple of hundred riot police had formed up 
down the other side street... While the battle 
was still going on around the corner on the 
road up to the hill I remained at the intersec- 
tion below watching events unfolding there. 

Initially the only thing in front of this sec- 
ond squad of riot police was 100 or so peo- 
ple sitting on the road. There was an obvious 
danger that if they charged those still fighting 
on the hill would be cut off. Some demon- 
strators started to tear down signs and trees 
in the park and to construct a barricade in 
front of those sitting down. Others meanwhile 
stood in a line facing the riot police but 
without moving towards them. 

In the meantime a concrete train had 
arrived on the railway line running parallel 
with and indeed forming a wall along the 
park at the bottom of the valley. This was 
somehow stopped and a number of demon- 
strators climbed onto it and de-coupled the 
carriages, effectively blocking one side of the 
railway line. 

Back at the intersection a river of water 
had started to run from the hill around the 
corner where the constant detonation of stun 
grenades and the occasional billow of tear 
gas confirmed that the furious battle was still 
ongoing. On the side street the barricade 
was rising and indeed a further barricade 
was being constructed on the road through 
the park that both roads connected with. Out 
the front of the first barricade a couple of 
demonstrators stood waving anarchist flags 
and even bits of police riot equipment at the 
police lines. The windows of what looked like 
a bank or insurance office behind the barri- 
cade were put in and demonstrators climbed 
in and started passing out more barricade 
material. 

Meanwhile in the park at the bottom of the 
hill the medical teams were performing first 
aid on head wounds, and obviously broken 
fingers and even arms. I heard one person 
being advised to head for a hospital. Of a 
less serious nature there was a stream of 
people who had been in the centre of tear 
gas bursts and thus needed their eyes 


washed out with water. One of the blue 
column medics has left comments on the 
indymedia site that I would be inclined to 
agree with to the effect that one of the most 
remarkable things was the discipline and co- 
operation of these anarchists who had come 
from all over Europe and beyond. But the 
role of the medics was heroic in particular as 
it was obvious the police had singled them 
out for special treatment. I talked to one 
medic who when helping a local 50 year old 
resident who had been hit by tear gas had 
been repeatedly blasted by the watercannon 
as he sought to aid the old man. More dis- 
turbingly still he reported that an ambulance 
had refused to take the old man to hospital 

During the weekend demonstrations plain 
clothes secret policemen were pointed out to 
me in the various demonstrations. Once they 
were pointed out they were quite obvious by 
their dress alone. While in the park I ob- 
served a group of three of them standing at 
the back of the demonstrators being driven 
off by a group of activists who had spotted 
them. Later the papers were to publish pho- 
tos of more of these characters, dressed like 
demonstrators (including raggy balaclavas) 
arresting people. Rumors from other sections 
insisted that some more of these characters 
had actually initiated property destruction at 
other “quiet” sections that day. I've no idea 
of the truth of this but they were very obvi- 
ously present. 

The barricade in the side street was set on 
fire to hold back the riot police. Meanwhile 
news came through that one of the gates in 
the pink sector had not been blockaded and 


re-enforcements were requested to block it. 
This would involved a long and somewhat 
vulnerable journey down the side of the 
conference centre between a cliff and the 
river. 

The black clad anarchist samba band 
formed up and led about 300 people off to 
attempt this blockade. This caused some 
dissension as some of those remaining felt 
that everyone should stay where we were 
and defend the existing barricades. Shortly 
after they left the front of the water cannon 
finally showed, itself around the corner at the 
bottom of the hill. It had taken maybe two 
hours for the riot police to drive the demon- 
strators 200m down a steep hill. Now how- 
ever they had reached the wide open park at 
the bottom where the railway line and cliff 
acted to form a funnel with our line of retreat 
at the narrow end. As hundreds of riot police 
formed up at the wide end we began a slow 
retreat that threatened to turn into a rout 
when they charged, as no one fancied being 
caught in the jam that might form in the 
narrow end of the funnel. As the charge was 
also coming diagonally at the railway line 
those of us at this side feared being trapped 
against it. 

In the event, after a brief panic a lot of 
people slowed again to a walk although in 
my opinion it was at this point that up to a 
thousand people decided they had enough 
and left for the city centre. Once the narrow 
end of the park was reached the task of 
constructing barricades was again resumed. 
I decided to move down to the blockade of 
thp road by the river, in part in the hope of 


28 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


International Anarchist News 


getting some food as I hadn’t eaten that day. 

This wasn't possible as all the shops in 
sight were shut and I didn’t fancy going past 
the twenty or so cops visible about 300m 
down the road back into town in order to find 
an open one. Numbers had very visibly 
thinned, about 100 people mounted a half 
hearted blockade on the road and built a 
barricade of sorts across it. At one point a 
group wheeled a car down to this which as 
it lacked two tires looked like it might have 
been abandoned. They wanted to turn it over 
onto its roof but others disagreed— arguing 
it was almost as effective upright and that 
way the owner could recover it only slightly 
damaged. In the end it stayed upright and 
later as we were forced to abandon the area 
someone sprayed "sorry" on the windscreen. 

After resting here for a while I headed 
back to where the sound of grenade detona- 
tions and a thick pall of smoke told me the 
action was continuing. I was heading up 
towards the park on the inside of the railway 
line but a small group coming the opposite 
direction warned us there was nothing but 
burning barricades and hundreds of riot 
police that way. I headed back to the inter- 
section at the railway bridge just as about a 
hundred people came charging down the 
other side of the railway line. 

In turned out that somewhere two junc- 
tions up the riot police had just stormed 
another barricade and this group had been 
fleeing back from there. At the next intersec- 
tion up just 150m away we could see a 
group of 100 or so hurriedly constructing a 
new barricade, this time using advertising 
boards that had been torn off walls.... 

The group had a hurried discussion about 
what to do next. It was obvious that the area 
was being pushed in and they were being 
driven towards the river. News came through 
that the blockade had been broken else- 
where (It was now about 3.30 PM, I suspect 
this story was false or related to the small 
break in the pink sector that was still open). 
Most people wanted to re-group and head 
into town before they 
were sealed in. The 
discussion broke up 
when a limousine sud- 
denly appeared less 
then 50m away in a 
side street. About 50 
people charged it and, 
as it hurriedly reversed 
back the way it had 
come, threw cobbles at 
it and hit it with sticks. 

Then the debate re- 
sumed. 

They decided to first 
try and find the section 
of the blue group that 
had headed off with the 
samba band down the 
river as they feared 


otherwise they would be cut off once the riot 
police hit the river. A cyclist headed up to the 
burning barricade to tell those there that they 
were withdrawing and they set off down to 
the group at the river. A steady drift of peo- 
ple had been heading into town throughout 
this period so less then 200 started on the 
lonq march down between the river and the 
cliff. 

The IMF Congress Centre stood on top of 
the high cliff to our left, on the site of an old 
fortress. To our right was the river and ahead 
the road passed through a rock archway that 
ran to the river. As we neared the arch we 
could see two figures standing directly on 
top of it, perhaps 100m above us. Those at 
the front started a chant of "Jump, Jump!” 
first in English and then in Czech as it was 
realised the two figures were riot cops, put 
there in case anyone tried to scale the sheer 
rock face. Above us a police helicopter 
circled, presumably reporting our position to 
those on the ground. 

The barricade behind us meant that the 
road was clear of traffic, with only one or two 
groups of locals watching us as we walked 
past. After about 1500m we reached a fork 
that turned up the hill to the right, towards 
the Congress Centre and into a residential 
area. The streets here were quiet, the weath- 
er fine and sunny and before long we came 
across an open supermarket where people 
stocked up on food and water. The water I 
had brought to wash tear gas from eyes was 
by now finished, the hot weather made all 
this marching around thirsty work. 

Our little column continued up the hill. We 
were now clearly in the sector assigned to 
pink but as yet we had not come across any 
other protesters. Finally, up the hill ahead of 
us, we spied another small group just be- 
yond a series of residential tower blocks. The 
presence of blue flags confirmed that we had 
found at least some of those we were look- 
ing for. As we approached the entrance to 
the residential blocks (a side street running 
up the hill) a number of fancy cars suddenly 


accelerated out and shot down a side street. 
In retrospect, these were almost certainly 
delegates making their getaway through the 
last unblocked entrance. 

Visiting the Congress 

I was too exhausted to pay much attention 
to what was going on at this point and col- 
lapsed under a tree. A guy appeared on a 
bike and told everyone that the road that 
went up behind the tower blocks was the last 
unblocked entrance to the IMF Congress. 
Somewhat reluctantly I followed the little 
band, once more led by the Samba band, up 
the road. At this stage I figured the wisest 
thing was to get out before the police went 
on a rampage, in particular as I considered 
the dwindling band had little chance of 
breaking though police lines. How wrong I 
was! 

After about 200m the road reached a ridge 
on the hill and headed straight for the Con- 
gress Centre. This was my first clear view of 
it, this time more or less on the same level 
and not up some impossible hill. It was 200m 
away. What's more, all that lay between us 
and the centre was a single line of police 
barricades on the other side of an intersec- 
tion 100m away. This amazed me as we 
were still being followed by the helicopter. 
From later interviews published with the 
police it seems the mass assault had dis- 
oriented them and their command structure 
had broken down a little. They were to actu- 
ally blame this on someone managing to jam 
their radio communications! I suspect the 
real reason was panic. 

The sight of that narrow line of cops in 
front of the centre was enough to get the 
remaining 150 or so masked up people to 
charge the thin police line. They stood and 
watched for all of two seconds and then 
turned and ran, right back to the centre, 
around the corner and out of sight. Knowing 
that a massive counter attack was inevitable 
I walked only a little beyond the intersection. 

Those at the front 
reached the centre it- 
self, and proceeded to 
lob cobblestones at the 
building and at the del- 
egates watching from 
the balconies above ... 

Behind me, someone 
at the intersection yelled 
"Quick, police, come 
back!” I returned to the 
intersection and sure 
enough a couple of 
hundred riot police were 
jogging towards us. 
Those at the hotel start- 
ed to sprint back down 
the street and I wasn’t 
long in joining them. As 
I looked over my shoul- 



IMF delegates peer at the fighting from the Congress Centre windows. 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


29 




International Anarchist News 


der I saw a water cannon come zooming 
around the corner by the hotel accompanied 
by hundreds more riot police. At the end of 
the street they joined the riot police we'd 
seen jogging up the side street and yet 
another water cannon. 

One big disadvantage that the riot police 
have is that because of all their armor they 
can’t run for very long or very fast. All day 
long people had been running back 50m 
which was enough to open a small gap and 
then stopping to see if the police were still 
chasing. And people behind the front had 
been digging up cobble stones and leaving 
them in piles at these intervals so the police 
could be discouraged from continuing the 
chase. This sort of tactic prevented the 
police routing us early in the day. So when 
we rounded the corner and reached the top 
of a very long very steep grassy back that 
ran down by the tower blocks to the road we 
had originally come up we paused. Less 
than 50m away the water cannon and all the 
riot police were pouring around the corner. 

I charged down the path that zig-zagged 
down the bank with everyone else. Once the 
riot police gained the top of the hill above us 
they proceeded to lob stun grenades and fire 
tear gas down at us as we scrambled down 
the slope. We made it the bottom and looked 
around for the next place to run. Some 
people didn’t wait and just headed straight 
down a street that ran directly away from the 
building. 

Once things had calmed down we headed 
back to the intersection that led up to the 
side road to the centre. Hundreds of riot 
police were still visible up this road so we 
decided to keep moving. At the next inter- 
section we met up with some more missing 
sections of the blue block, and collectively 
decided that we should get the hell out of 
the area before the riot cops came down 
after us. As we moved up the hill we finally 
met up with some of the pink sector and I 
chatted with some people I had met at the 
counter summit about the days events so far. 
Moving on we came across the first pink 
section action, a non-violent blockade on the 
divided highway that passed the centre. The 
bridge that Ya Basta had tried to force their 
way across was the same highway at the 
opposite side of the centre. 

There was a tense moment as our seg- 
ment of the blue block arrived, mostly 
masked up, flying anarchist flags and many 
carrying cobble stones. The pacifist blockade 
were obviously not keen on this element 
breaking up the friendly atmosphere they 
had generated with the police. At our ap- 
proach they started up a chant of "Please Sit 
Down — No Violence!” A few of the more hot- 
headed types on the blue side threw a cou- 
ple of cobble stones over the heads of the 
pacifists sitting on the road at the line of 
robo cops beyond. Fortunately, they were 
quickly restrained by the cooler heads in the 


blue block before the police could use this 
as an excuse to charge. 

A row broke out between a couple of the 
crazier blue elements and the leaders of the 
pink pacifists sitting on the road. They 
seemed to consist of a scattering of Leninists 
at the back and a lot of very young Swedes 
at the front. I thought it was a bit out of order 
to embroil them in a violent confrontation 
they didn’t want and as I was completely 
exhausted I decided to sit down with them, 
at least for a while. 

Although things remained tense for a 
while, no more projectiles were thrown. The 
tensest moment was probably when some 
twit in the pacifist mob started a group sing- 
ing "Give Peace a Chance" — I felt sure this 
would provoke a reaction from people who 
had been getting battered by tear gas, stun 
grenades, truncheons and dogs for several 
hours. But luckily they stopped and began to 
sing something more soothing. Some of the 
rowdier blue elements moved off out of sight 
to the right while the anarchist flags stayed 
back down the road a bit. The pacifists kept 
up the chants of “No Violence — Please Sit 
Down!" for a bit longer but eventually 
seemed happy enough that the immediate 
threat had moved on. 

Something was obviously going on out of 
sight to the right as the same chants were 
heard and then a big squad of riot police 
went sprinting out from behind the barrier to 
return a couple of minutes later. 

I stayed with the pacifist protest for half an 
hour or so, in part because the police sud- 
denly brought up a water cannon and 
switched the white helmeted riot police in the 
front row for a bunch of identical robo cops 
clad in black helmets. I guessed at that time 
these black helmets were some sort of heavy 
squad and figured I’d stay around and if 
necessary get arrested here if they waded 
into the pacifists. 

The leaders of the pacifist pink section 
went forward to talk to some of the leaders 
of the riot police. He then announced there 
was to be an affinity meeting to one side and 
that each affinity group should send its 
“spoke” (delegate) over to it. The cops re- 
laxed a little and resumed a standby look 
rather then the about-to-charge one they had 
a few minutes earlier. Then the black 
helmeted cops were taken out and replaced 
with the white helmeted ones. At this point 
the pacifists actually started a round of 
applause— I'm forced to assume this was for 
the riot cops!! Amazingly the constant sound 
of stun grenades and the clouds of tear gas 
coming from the other sectors still left them 
in a cop friendly mode. 

Later, I found out that at one point there 
were negotiations with one of the blockades 
to allow the catering and other workers out 
of the centre. I guess this was what I saw but 
I headed off at this point as all the clapping 
had convinced me that these were not really 


the people I wanted to get arrested with. 

Subsequently I have discovered that the 
episode above has become quite controver- 
sial with a claim that the blue block had 
thrown cobble stones over the heads of the 
pacifists (who were Norwegians and not 
Swedes) in an effort to get the police to 
attack them. There is very little truth in this 
claim, as related above. The blue section in 
fact was fairly disciplined and stopped the 
hot-heads. from attacking. However I sup- 
pose the people sitting on the road just saw 
the blue block appear from no where and 
didn’t realise the manic state of some of the 
participants was due to the events they had 
gone through in the minutes before they 
arrived. 

It was also around this point that the story 
began to circulate that the police had told 
the delegates that the night at the opera was 
canceled as they could not guarantee their 
protection in the city centre. As the stated 
objective of the blockade had been to stop 
this opera we had succeeded. Not, as it 
happens, by a non-violent sit-down— the 
delegates would have gotten out under- 
ground on the metro, but by wearing the 
police down. 

As I continued on my long march around 
the centre I caught up with the blue block 
once more. This time they were fighting a 
pitched battle on a side road that ran off a 
major road with a tram line. Numbers had 
again grown to perhaps 300 but it still 
seemed like a foolishly small number to be 
taking on 1 1 ,000 riot police. 

On the other side of the main road a large 
number of Czechs were watching- the riot in 
progress. Suddenly, somewhere down the 
road from me, a car deliberately swerved into 
a group of protesters by the side of the road. 
This may possibly have been an attack by a 
fascist— they had been hanging around look- 
ing for victims all weekend. Whatever the 
cause, the results were interesting. The 
Czechs at the other side of the road all 
started shouting and pointing out the offend- 
ing car. This enabled a small group prising 
up cobble stones further up the street to 
stone the car as it sped away. 

After this, protesters tore up the long 
railings that separated the road from the 
pavement and moved them to block off the 
road itself. At this stage I saw a “pathologi- 
cal" pacifist giving an interview in English 
(from the accent he was from the US) to a 
TV crew about how all these rioters had 
nothing to do with the protests^-a line that 
was to be repeated by some of the INPEG 
organisers afterwards. Meanwhile a couple of 
hundred metres away a few hundred of 
these rioters, who had presumably sprouted 
overnight from the ground continued the 
running battle with the police. 

At this stage night was beginning to fall 
and there was a clear feeling we should lift 
the blockade and get into town before the 


30 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


Fall Winter 2000-2001 


International Anarchist News 



Photo: Undercurrents 


The pink samba band on the march. 

inevitable police riot broke out. The anarchist 
Samba band re-appeared and just about 
everyone started to fall in behind them. 
Something interesting happened at this point 
because the numbers that marched into the 
city centre rapidly grew to about 2,000 or so 
again with all the visible flags and banners 
being anarchist ones. 

Leaving the barricades in place we 
marched into the centre in one big column. 
The samba band played (very well) at the 
front and this— combined with the car-free 
streets — turned the whole march into a 
victory carnival. As we went past the residen- 
tial buildings on either side of the streets 
people came out on their balconies to watch 
this strange procession and quite a few 
people waved at us. My exhaustion lifted, 
suddenly it felt like we were in control of the 
streets and indeed we were — except for the 
ever-present helicopter, not a single cop was 
visible for the entire march. 

As darkness fell, a fire-breather started up 
somewhere near the front of the march and 
the band slipped into an easy rhythm. In the 
breaks the crowd punched one fist into the 
air and shouted "Hey!” As we came upon 
stalled trams the drivers rang their bells in . 
greeting. It all came to resemble something 
out of an Eisenstein film. At the sides of the 
march masked individuals demolished the 
windows of banks as we passed them, but 
overall the day-long spirit of confrontation 
had faded into the joy of victory. 

In fact we were a little premature — we had 
forgotten about the plan to march on the 
exhibition centre. But in the event, another 


section of the blue block that had earlier left 
for the Opera was to do this and result in it 
also being shut down. 

Wenceslas Square 

After a long march we arrived at the top of 
Wenceslas Square where a McDonalds was 
swiftly trashed by some at the front of the 
march. [These might have been the work of 
undercover cops to provide an excuse for 
the later police riot — this was later suggested 
by some Czech newspapers.] There was a 
brief retreat when some police charged up 
the square. This quickly turned into a coun- 
ter-charge when it was realised there were 
only twenty of them. People flocked into the 
square, and mingled with the Czechs, tour- 
ists and other demonstrators that were al- 
ready there. At the top of the square the 
terrace of the National Museum was packed 
with people who had turned out to watch. 

Some time after we had arrived a new 
march of a few hundred arrived on the 
streets leading to the top of the square. This 
initially received a cheer until It was realised 
that those at the front were chanting “No Vio- 
lence.” It had obviously cdme all this way 
from the pink blockade to police the rest of 
us. They were generally ignored and I was 
amused to see the same US "pathological” 
pacifist I had seen talking to the TV crew 
back at the last blockade making a big show 
of standing in front of the McDonalds as if he 
was protecting it— a pointless exercise as 
there was little left to protect and no one to 
protect it from — unless, that is, you count the 


camera crew which was filming him. 

I’d decided it was time to go home and 
started to head down the square to the 
metro station at the bottom. As mentioned 
above we had forgotten about the exhibition 
centre but as it turned out the police were so 
panicked that the arrival of a mere 200 anar- 
chists caused them to cancel it. Apparently 
the majority of hospitalised delegates were 
actually suffering from the effects of stuffing 
themselves with a pork feast, closely fol- 
lowed by the panic of being crammed onto 
coaches and driven past the lines of demon- 
strators. The IMF and Czech police humilia- 
tion had been completed by this last 200. 
When the police realised how few of them 
there were they chased them dll the way 
back into the city centre. 

Meanwhile we reached the half-way point 
in the square and suddenly noticed hun- 
dreds of white helmets pouring into the 
bottom of the square and starting the long 
charge towards the top. The long expected 
police riot was now materialising. With the 
delegates back in their hotels, the police 
were determined to arrest and batter anyone 
they could in an act of revenge. We decided 
to head for the top of the square and then 
out by whatever road was possible. 

We retreated. Fortunately we had enough 
of a lead on the wave of riot police to do so 
calmly. We passed the pacifist block which 
stood in front of the museum still chanting 
"No Violence!" As I passed I told those at the 
edges that the riot police were on their way 
and they would be wise to get the hell out of 
there fast. For this advice I just received 
some perplexed and hostile stares and as I 
wasn’t about to hang around to argue the 
point I headed on. 

A couple of hundred metres down the 
road I looked back into the square just as a 
huge salvo of tear gas and stun grenades 
rained down on the front of the National 
Museum, right where the pacifists and hun- 
dreds of Czechs had been standing. A 
Czech I was with commented that this was 
the first time the National Museum had come 
under first since the Russian invasion of 
1968. It was definitely time to go home! 

The next day the IMF meetings were 
almost empty, photos show speakers ad- 
dressing halls that should have had thou- 
sands of delegates in them with only a doz- 
en or so present. Then they announced the 
cancellation of the last day’s meetings. A 
World Bank delegate reports "During the 
press conference the next day, they denied 
the protests were the reason. They actually 
said the reason was that things had run so 
efficiently that they were able to compress 
everything into two days. The press laughed 
at this.” Prague was clearly our victory and 
we should remember it as one! 

-by Joe Black 

The Workers Solidarity Movement web site 
can be found at: http://morc.at/anarchism 


Fall/Winter 2000-2001 


Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 


31